Canto 5: " The Creative Impetus"
Table of Contents
The Activities of Maharaja Priyavrata
This chapter describes how King Priyavrata enjoyed royal opulence and majesty and then returned to full knowledge. King Priyavrata was detached from worldly opulence, and then he became attached to his kingdom, but finally he again became detached from material enjoyment and thus achieved liberation. When King Pariksit heard about this, he was struck with wonder, but he was somewhat bewildered as to how a devotee with no attachment for material enjoyment could later become attached to it. Thus in astonishment he questioned Sukadeva Gosvami about this.
In response to the King's inquiries, Sukadeva Gosvami said that devotional service, being transcendental, cannot be deviated by any material influences. Priyavrata had received transcendental knowledge from the instructions of Narada, and therefore he did not want to enter a materialistic life of enjoyment in a kingdom. He accepted the kingdom, however, at the request of such superior demigods as Lord Brahma and Lord Indra, the King of heaven.
Everything is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller, and everyone must work accordingly. Just as a bull is controlled by a rope tied to its nose, so all conditioned souls are forced to work under the spells of the modes of nature. A civilized man, therefore, works according to the institution of varna and asrama. Even in materialistic life, however, no one is free to act. Everyone is compelled to accept a certain type of body offered by the Supreme Lord and thus be allotted different grades of happiness and distress. Therefore even if one artificially leaves home and goes to the forest, he again becomes attached to materialistic life. Family life is compared to a fortress for practicing sense control. When the senses are controlled. one may live either at home or in the forest; there is no difference.
When Maharaja Priyavrata, following the instruction of Lord Brahma. accepted the royal throne, his father, Manu, left home for the forest. Maharaja Priyavrata then married Barhismati, the daughter of Visvakarma. In the womb of Barhismati he begot ten sons, named Agnidhra, Idhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Mahavira, Hiranyareta, Ghrtaprstha, Savana, Medhatithi, Vitihotra and Kavi. He also begot one daughter, whose name was Urjasvati. Maharaja Priyavrata lived with his wife and family for many thousands of years. The impressions from the rims of Maharaja Priyavrata's chariot wheels created seven oceans and seven islands. Of the ten sons of Priyavrata, three sons named Kavi, Mahavira and Savana accepted sannyasa, the fourth order of life, and the remaining seven sons became the rulers of the seven islands. Maharaja Priyavrata also had a second wife, in whom he begot three sons named Uttama, Raivata and Tamasa. All of them were elevated to the post of Manu. Sukadeva Gosvami thus described how Maharaja Priyavrata achieved liberation.
atmaramah katham mune
grhe 'ramata yan-mulah
raja uvaca--King Pariksit said; priya-vratah--King Priyavrata; bhagavatah--the great devotee; atma-aramah--who takes pleasure in self-realization; katham--why; mune--O great sage; grhe--at home; aramata--enjoyed; yat-mulah--having which as the root cause; karma-bandhah--the bondage of fruitive activities; parabhavah--the defeat of one's human mission.
King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: O great sage, why did King Priyavrata, who was a great, self-realized devotee of the Lord, remain in household life, which is the root cause of the bondage of karma [fruitive activities] and which defeats the mission of human life?
In the Fourth Canto, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami explains that Narada Muni perfectly instructed King Priyavrata about the mission of human life. The mission of human life is to realize one's self and then gradually to go back home, back to Godhead. Since Narada Muni instructed the King fully on this subject, why did he again enter household life, which is the main cause of material bondage? Maharaja Pariksit was greatly astonished that King Priyavrata remained in household life, especially since he was not only a self-realized soul but also a first-class devotee of the Lord. A devotee actually has no attraction for household life, but surprisingly, King Priyavrata enjoyed household life very much. One may argue, "Why is it wrong to enjoy household life?" The reply is that in household life one becomes bound by the results of fruitive activities. The essence of household life is sense enjoyment, and as long as one engrosses his mind in working hard for sense enjoyment, one becomes bound by the reactions of fruitive activities. This ignorance of self-realization is the greatest defeat in human life. The human form of life is especially meant for getting out of the bondage of fruitive activities, but as long as one is forgetful of his life's mission and acts like an ordinary animal--eating, sleeping, mating and defending--he must continue his conditioned life of material existence. Such a life is called svarupa-vismrti, forgetfulness of one's real constitutional position. Therefore in Vedic civilization one is trained in the very beginning of life as a brahmacari. A brahmacari must execute austerities and refrain from sex indulgence. Therefore if one is completely trained in the principles of brahmacarya, he generally does not enter household life. He is then called a naisthika-brahmacari, which indicates total celibacy. King Pariksit was thus astonished that the great King Priyavrata, although trained in the principles of naisthika-brahmacarya, entered household life.
The words bhagavata atmaramah are very significant in this verse. If one is self-satisfied as is the Supreme personality of Godhead, he is called bhagavata atmaramah. There are different types of satisfaction. Karmis are satisfied in their fruitive activities, jnanis are satisfied to merge into the effulgence of Brahman, and devotees are satisfied to engage in the Lord's service. The Lord is self-satisfied because He is fully opulent, and one who is satisfied by serving Him is called bhagavata atmaramah. Manusyanam sahasresu: out of many thousands of persons, one may endeavor for liberation, and of many thousands of persons attempting to become liberated, one may achieve liberation from the anxieties of material existence and become self-satisfied. Even that satisfaction, however, is not the ultimate satisfaction. The jnanis and the karmis have desires, as do the yogis, but devotees have no desires. Satisfaction in the service of the Lord is called akama, freedom from desire, and this is the ultimate satisfaction. Therefore Maharaja Pariksit inquired, "How could one who was fully satisfied on the highest platform be satisfied with family life?"
The word parabhavah in this verse is also significant. When one is satisfied in family life, he is doomed because he must already have forgotten his relationship with the Lord. Prahlada Maharaja describes how the activities of family life implicate one more and more. Atma-patam grham andha-kupam: household life is like a dark well. If one falls into this well, his spiritual death is assured. How Priyavrata Maharaja remained a liberated paramahamsa even within family life is described in the next verse.
na nunam mukta-sanganam
grhesv abhiniveso 'yam
pumsam bhavitum arhati
na--not; nunam--certainly; mukta-sanganam--who are free from attachment; tadrsanam--such; dvija-rsabha--O greatest of the brahmanas; grhesu--to family life; abhinivesah--excessive attachment; ayam--this; pumsam--of persons; bhavitum--to be; arhati--is possible.
Devotees are certainly liberated persons. Therefore, O greatest of the brahmanas, they cannot possibly be absorbed in family affairs.
In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is said that by executing devotional service to the Lord, one can understand the transcendental position of the living being and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be understood by any means except bhakti. The Lord confirms this in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.21). Bhaktyaham ekaya grahyah: "only by executing devotional service can one appreciate Me." Similarly, in Bhagavad-gita (18.55) Lord Krsna says, bhaktya mam abhijanati: "simply by discharging devotional service, one can understand Me." Thus for a bhakta to become attached to family affairs is impossible, since a bhakta and his associates are liberated. Everyone is searching after ananda, or bliss, but in the material world there can never be any bliss. It is only possible in devotional service. Attachment for family affairs and devotional service are incompatible. Therefore Maharaja Pariksit was somewhat surprised to hear that Maharaja Priyavrata was simultaneously attached to devotional service and to family life.
mahatam khalu viprarse
na kutumbe sprha-matih
mahatam--of great devotees; khalu--certainly; vipra-rse--O great sage among the brahmanas; uttama-sloka-padayoh--of the lotus feet of the Supreme personality of Godhead; chaya--by the shade; nirvrta--satiated; cittanam--whose consciousness; na--never; kutumbe--to family members; sprha-matih--consciousness with attachment.
Elevated mahatmas who have taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are fully satiated by the shade of those lotus feet. Their consciousness cannot possibly become attached to family members.
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has sung, nitai pada-kamala, koti-candra susitala, ye chayaya jagat judaya. He describes the shade of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda as being so nice and cooling that all materialists, who are always in the blazing fire of material activities, may come under the shade of His lotus feet and be fully relieved and satiated. The distinction between family life and spiritual life can be experienced by any person who has undergone the tribulations of living with a family. One who comes under the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord never becomes attracted by the activities of family life. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (2.59), param drstva nivartate: one gives up lower engagements when he experiences a higher taste. Thus one becomes detached from family life as soon as he comes under the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord.
samsayo 'yam mahan brahman
saktasya yat siddhir abhut
krsne ca matir acyuta
samsayah--doubt; ayam--this; mahan--great; brahman--O brahmana; dara--to the wife; agara--home; suta--children; adisu--and so on; saktasya--of a person attached; yat--because; siddhih--perfection; abhut--became; krsne--unto Krsna; ca--also; matih--attachment; acyuta--infallible.
The King continued: O great brahmana, this is my great doubt. How was it possible for a person like King Priyavrata, who was so attached to wife, children and home, to achieve the topmost infallible perfection in Krsna consciousness?
King Pariksit wondered how a person so attached to wife, children and home could become so perfectly Krsna conscious. Prahlada Maharaja has said:
matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho 'bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
A grhavrata, one who has taken a vow to execute family duties, has no chance to become Krsna conscious. This is because most grhavratas are guided by sense gratification and therefore gradually glide down to the darkest regions of material existence (adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram). How can they possibly become perfect in Krsna consciousness? Maharaja Pariksit asked Sukadeva Gosvami to resolve this great doubt.
badham uktam bhagavata uttamaslokasya srimac-caranaravinda-makaranda-rasa avesita-cetaso bhagavata-paramahamsa-dayita-katham kincid antaraya-vihatam svam sivatamam padavim na prayena hinvanti.
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; badham--correct; uktam--what you have said; bhagavatah--of the Personality of Godhead; uttama-slokasya--who is praised with excellent verses; srimat-carana-aravinda--of the feet, which are just like the most beautiful fragrant lotus flowers; makaranda--honey; rase--in the nectar; avesita--absorbed; cetasah--whose hearts; bhagavata--to the devotees; paramahamsa--liberated persons; dayita--pleasing; katham--glorification; kincit--sometimes; antaraya--by impediments; vihatam--checked; svam--own; siva-tamam--most exalted; padavim--position; na--do not; prayena--almost always; hinvanti--give up.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: What you have said is correct. The glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is praised in eloquent, transcendental verses by such exalted personalities as Brahma, are very pleasing to great devotees and liberated persons. One who is attached to the nectarean honey of the Lord's lotus feet, and whose mind is always absorbed in His glories, may sometimes be checked by some impediment, but he still never gives up the exalted position he has acquired.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami accepted both of the King's propositions--that a person who is advanced in Krsna consciousness cannot embrace materialistic life again and that one who has embraced materialistic life cannot take up Krsna consciousness at any stage of his existence. Although accepting both these statements, Sukadeva Gosvami qualified them by saying that a person who has once absorbed his mind in the glories of the Supreme personality of Godhead may sometimes be influenced by impediments, but he still does not give up his exalted devotional position.
According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, there are two kinds of impediments to devotional service. The first is an offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. This is called vaisnava-aparadha. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu warned His devotees not to commit vaisnava-aparadha, which He described as the mad elephant offense. When a mad elephant enters a beautiful garden, it destroys everything, leaving a barren field. Similarly, the power of vaisnava-aparadha is so great that even an advanced devotee becomes almost devoid of his spiritual assets if he commits it. Since Krsna consciousness is eternal, it cannot be destroyed altogether, but advancement may be checked for the time being. Thus vaisnava-aparadha is one kind of impediment to devotional service. Sometimes, however, the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His devotee desires to impede one's devotional service. For example, Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa were formerly Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers in Vaikuntha, but by the desire of the Lord, they became His enemies for three lives. Thus the desire of the Lord is another kind of impediment. But in both cases, the pure devotee, once advanced in Krsna consciousness, cannot be lost. Following the orders of his superiors (Svayambhuva and Lord Brahma), Priyavrata accepted family life, but this did not mean he lost his position in devotional service. Krsna consciousness is perfect and eternal, and therefore it cannot be lost under any circumstances. Because the material world is full of obstructions to advancement in Krsna consciousness, there may appear to be many impediments, yet Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, declares in Bhagavad-gita (9.31), kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati: once one has taken shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord, he cannot be lost.
In this verse, the word sivatamam is very significant. Sivatamam means "the most auspicious." The devotional path is so auspicious that a devotee cannot be lost under any circumstances. This is described in the Srimad Bhagavad-gita by the Lord Himself. partha naiveha namutra vinasas tasya vidyate: "My dear Arjuna, for a devotee there is no question of being lost, either in this life or in the next." (Bg. 6.40) In Bhagavad-gita (6.43) the Lord clearly explains how this is so.
tatra tam buddhi-samyogam
yatate ca tato bhuyah
By the order of the Lord, a perfect devotee sometimes comes to this material world like an ordinary human being. Because of his previous practice, such a perfect devotee naturally becomes attached to devotional service, apparently without cause. Despite all kinds of impediments due to surrounding circumstances, he automatically perseveres in devotional service and gradually advances until he once again becomes perfect. Bilvamangala Thakura had been an advanced devotee in his previous life, but in his next life he became greatly fallen and was attached to a prostitute. Suddenly, however, his entire behavior was changed by the words of the very prostitute who had so much attracted him, and he became a great devotee. In the lives of exalted devotees, there are many such instances, proving that once one has taken to the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, he cannot be lost (kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati).
The fact is, however, that one becomes a devotee when he is completely freed from all reactions to sinful life. As Krsna states in Bhagavad-gita (7.28):
yesam tv anta-gatam papam
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
"Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of illusion, engage themselves in My service with determination." On the other hand, as Prahlada Maharaja said:
matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho 'bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
A person who is too attached to materialistic family life--home, family, wife, children and so on--cannot develop Krsna consciousness.
These apparent contradictions are resolved in the life of a devotee by the grace of the Supreme Lord, and therefore a devotee is never bereft of his position on the path of liberation, which is described in this verse as sivatamam padavim.
yarhi vava ha rajan sa raja-putrah priyavratah parama-bhagavato naradasya caranopasevayanjasavagata-paramartha-satattvo brahma-satrena diksisyamano 'vani-tala-paripalanayamnata-pravara-guna-ganaikanta-bhajanataya sva-pitropamantrito bhagavati vasudeva evavyavadhana-samadhi-yogena samavesita-sakala-karaka-kriya-kalapo naivabhyanandad yadyapi tad apratyamnatavyam tad-adhikarana atmano 'nyasmad asato 'pi parabhavam anviksamanah.
yarhi--because; vava ha--indeed; rajan--O King; sah--he; raja-putrah--the Prince; priyavratah--Priyavrata; parama--supreme; bhagavatah--devotee; naradasya--of Narada; carana--the lotus feet; upasevaya--by serving; anjasa--quickly; avagata--became aware of; parama-artha--transcendental subject matter; sa-tattvah--with all knowable facts; brahma-satrena--by continuous discussion of the Supreme; diksisyamanah--desiring to fully dedicate himself; avani-tala--the surface of the globe; paripalanaya--to rule over; amnata--directed in the revealed scriptures; pravara--highest; guna--of qualities; gana--the sum total; ekanta--without deviation; bhajanataya--because of his possessing; sva-pitra--by his father; upamantritah--being asked; bhagavati--in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vasudeve--the all-pervading Lord; eva--certainly; avyavadhana--without cessation; samadhi-yogena--by practicing yoga in complete absorption; samavesita--completely dedicated; sakala--all; karaka--senses; kriya-kalapah--whose total activities; na--not; eva--thus; abhyanandat--welcomed; yadyapi--although; tat--that; apratyamnatavyam--not to be rejected for any reason; tat-adhikarane--in occupying that post; atmanah--of himself; anyasmat--by other engagements; asatah--material; api--certainly; parabhavam--deterioration; anviksamanah--foreseeing.
Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, Prince Priyavrata was a great devotee because he sought the lotus feet of Narada, his spiritual master, and thus achieved the highest perfection in transcendental knowledge. With advanced knowledge, he always engaged in discussing spiritual subjects and did not divert his attention to anything else. The Prince's father then asked him to take charge of ruling the world. He tried to convince Priyavrata that this was his duty as indicated in the revealed scriptures. Prince Priyavrata, however, was continuously practicing bhakti-yoga by constantly remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thus engaging all his senses in the service of the Lord. Therefore, although the order of his father could not be rejected, the Prince did not welcome it. Thus he very conscientiously raised the question of whether he might be diverted from devotional service by accepting the responsibility of ruling over the world.
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has sung, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba: "Without serving the lotus feet of a pure Vaisnava or spiritual master, no one has ever attained perfect liberation from material bondage." prince Priyavrata regularly served the lotus feet of Narada, and thus the Prince perfectly understood transcendental subjects in truth (sa-tattvah). The word sa-tattvah means that Priyavrata knew all the facts about the spirit soul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the relationship between the spirit soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he also knew all about this material world and the relationship of the spirit soul and the Supreme Lord within the material world. Thus the Prince decided to engage himself only in rendering service to the Lord.
When Priyavrata's father, Svayambhuva Manu, requested him to accept the responsibility of ruling over the world, he did not welcome the suggestion. This is the symptom of a great, liberated devotee. Even though engaged in worldly affairs, he does not take pleasure in them, but remains always absorbed in the Lord's service. While thus serving the Lord, he deals externally with worldly affairs without being affected. For example, although he has no attraction for his children, he cares for them and educates them to become devotees. Similarly, he speaks to his wife with affectionate words, but he is not attached to her. By rendering devotional service, a devotee acquires all the good qualities of the Supreme Lord. Lord Krsna had sixteen thousand wives, all of them very beautiful, and although He dealt with each of them as a beloved husband, He was not attracted or attached to any of them. In the same way, although a devotee may enter family life and act very affectionately toward his wife and children, he is never attached to these activities.
This verse states that by serving the lotus feet of his spiritual master, prince Priyavrata very soon attained the perfectional stage of Krsna consciousness. This is the only way to advance in spiritual life. As stated in the Vedas:
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
"If one has unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord and the spiritual master, the essence of all Vedic knowledge is revealed to him. (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23) A devotee always thinks of the Lord continuously. While chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, the words Krsna and Hare immediately remind him of all the Lord's activities. Since his entire life is engaged in the service of the Lord, a devotee cannot forget the Lord at any time. Just as an ordinary man always engages his mind in material activities, a devotee always engages his mind in spiritual activities. This is called brahma-satra, or meditating upon the Supreme Lord always. Prince Priyavrata was perfectly initiated into this practice by Sri Narada.
atha ha bhagavan adi-deva etasya guna-visargasya paribrmhananudhyana-vyavasita-sakala-jagad-abhipraya atma-yonir akhila-nigama-nija-gana-parivestitah sva-bhavanad avatatara.
atha--thus; ha--indeed; bhagavan--the most powerful; adi-devah--the first demigod; etasya--of this universe; guna-visargasya--the creation of the three modes of material nature; paribrmhana--the welfare; anudhyana--always thinking of; vyavasita--known; sakala--whole; jagat--of the universe; abhiprayah--by whom the ultimate purpose; atma--the Supreme Self; yonih--whose source of birth; akhila--all; nigama--by the Vedas; nija-gana--by personal associates; parivestitah--being surrounded; sva-bhavanat--from his own abode; avatatara--descended.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: The first created being and most powerful demigod in this universe is Lord Brahma, who is always responsible for developing universal affairs. Born directly from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he dedicates his activities to the welfare of the entire universe, for he knows the purpose of the universal creation. This supremely powerful Lord Brahma, accompanied by his associates and the personified Vedas, left his own abode in the highest planetary system and descended to the place of Prince Priyavrata's meditation.
Lord Visnu, the Supreme Self (atma), is the source of everything, as explained in the Vedanta-sutra: janmady asya yatah. Because Brahma was born directly from Lord Visnu, he is called atma-yoni. He is also called bhagavan, although generally bhagavan refers to the Supreme personality of Godhead (Visnu or Lord Krsna). Sometimes great personalities--such as demigods like Lord Brahma, Narada or Lord Siva--are also addressed as bhagavan because they carry out the purpose of the Supreme personality of Godhead. Lord Brahma is called bhagavan because he is the secondary creator of this universe. He is always thinking of how to improve the situation of the conditioned souls who have come to the material world to enjoy material activities. For this reason, he disseminates the Vedic knowledge throughout the universe for everyone's guidance.
Vedic knowledge is divided into two parts: pravrtti-marga and nivrtti-marga. Nivrtti-marga is the path of negating sense enjoyment, and pravrtti-marga is the path by which the living entities are given a chance to enjoy and at the same time are directed in such a way that they can go back home, back to Godhead. Because ruling over this universe is a great responsibility, Brahma must force many Manus in different ages to take charge of universal affairs. Under each Manu there are different kings who also execute the purpose of Lord Brahma. It is understood from previous explanations that the father of Dhruva Maharaja, King Uttanapada, ruled over the universe because his elder brother, Priyavrata, practiced austerity from the very beginning of his life. Thus up to the point of the Pracetas, the kings of the universe were all descendants of Uttanapada Maharaja. Since there were no suitable kings after the Pracetas, Svayambhuva Manu went to the Gandhamadana Hill to bring back his eldest son, Priyavrata, who was meditating there. Svayambhuva Manu requested Priyavrata to rule over the universe. When he refused, Lord Brahma descended from the supreme planetary system, known as Satyaloka, to request Priyavrata to accept the order. Lord Brahma did not come alone. He came with other great sages like Marici, Atreya and Vasistha. To convince Priyavrata that it was necessary for him to follow the Vedic injunctions and accept the responsibility of ruling over the world, Lord Brahma also brought with him the personified Vedas, his constant associates.
A significant word in this verse is sva-bhavanat, indicating that Lord Brahma descended from his own abode. Every demigod has his own abode. Indra, the King of the demigods, has his own abode, as do Candra, the lord of the moon planet, and Surya, the predominating deity of the sun planet. There are many millions of demigods, and the stars and planets are their respective homes. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. Yanti deva-vrata devan: "Those who worship the demigods go to their different planetary systems." Lord Brahma's abode. the highest planetary system, is called Satyaloka or sometimes Brahmaloka. Brahmaloka usually refers to the spiritual world. The abode of Lord Brahma is Satyaloka, but because Lord Brahma resides there, it is also sometimes called Brahmaloka.
sa tatra tatra gagana-tala udu-patir iva vimanavalibhir anupatham amara-parivrdhair abhipujyamanah pathi pathi ca varuthasah siddha-gandharva-sadhya-carana-muni-ganair upagiyamano gandha-madana-dronim avabhasayann upasasarpa.
sah--he (Lord Brahma); tatra tatra--here and there; gagana-tale--under the canopy of the sky; udu-patih--the moon; iva--like; vimana-avalibhih--in their different airplanes; anupatham--along the path; amara--of the demigods; parivrdhaih--by the leaders; abhipujyamanah--being worshiped; pathi pathi--on the way, one after another; ca--also; varuthasah--in groups; siddha--by the residents of Siddhaloka; gandharva--by the residents of Gandharvaloka; sadhya--by the residents of Sadhyaloka; carana--by the residents of Caranaloka; muni-ganaih--and by great sages; upagiyamanah--being worshiped; gandha-madana--of the planet where the Gandhamadana Hill is found; dronim--the border; avabhasayan--illuminating; upasasarpa--he approached.
As Lord Brahma descended on his carrier, the great swan, all the residents of the planets named Siddhaloka, Gandharvaloka, Sadhyaloka and Caranaloka, as well as great sages and demigods flying in their different airplanes, assembled within the canopy of the sky to receive Lord Brahma and worship him. As he received respect and adoration from the residents of the various planets, Lord Brahma appeared just like the full moon surrounded by illuminating stars. Lord Brahma's great swan then arrived at the border of Gandhamadana Hill and approached Prince Priyavrata, who was sitting there.
It appears from this description that there is regular interplanetary travel between the planets of the demigods. Another significant point is that there is a planet covered mostly by great mountains, one of which is Gandhamadana Hill. Three great personalities--Priyavrata, Narada and Svayambhuva Manu--were sitting on this hill. According to Brahma-samhita, each universe is filled with different planetary systems, and every system has a unique opulence. For example, on Siddhaloka, all the residents are very advanced in the powers of mystic yoga. They can fly from one planet to another without airplanes or other flying machines. Similarly, the residents of Gandharvaloka are expert in musical science, and those on Sadhyaloka are all great saints. The interplanetary system undoubtedly exists, and residents of different planets may go from one to another. On this earth, however, we have not invented any machine that can go directly from one planet to another, although an unsuccessful attempt has been made to go directly to the moon.
tatra ha va enam devarsir hamsa-yanena pitaram bhagavantam hiranya-garbham upalabhamanah sahasaivotthayarhanena saha pita-putrabhyam avahitanjalir upatasthe.
tatra--there; ha va--certainly; enam--him; deva-rsih--the great saint Narada; hamsa-yanena--by the swan carrier; pitaram--his father; bhagavantam--most powerful; hiranya-garbham--Lord Brahma; upalabhamanah--understanding; sahasa eva--immediately; utthaya--having stood up; arhanena--with paraphernalia for worship; saha--accompanied; pita-putrabhyam--by Priyavrata and his father. Svayambhuva Manu; avahita-anjalih--with respect and folded hands; upatasthe--worshiped.
Lord Brahma, the father of Narada Muni, is the supreme person within this universe. As soon as Narada saw the great swan, he could understand that Lord Brahma had arrived. Therefore he immediately stood up, along with Svayambhuva Manu and his son Priyavrata, whom Narada was instructing. Then they folded their hands and began to worship Lord Brahma with great respect.
As stated in the previous verse, Lord Brahma was accompanied by other demigods, but his specific carrier was the great swan. Therefore as soon as Narada Muni saw the swan, he could understand that his father, Lord Brahma, who is also known as Hiranyagarbha, was arriving. Thus he immediately stood up with Svayambhuva Manu and his son Priyavrata to receive Lord Brahma and offer him respect.
bhagavan api bharata tad-upanitarhanah sukta-vakenatitaram udita-guna-ganavatara-sujayah priyavratam adi-purusas tam sadaya-hasavaloka iti hovaca.
bhagavan--Lord Brahma; api--moreover; bharata--O King Pariksit; tat--by them; upanita--brought forward; arhanah--worshipable paraphernalia; sukta--according to Vedic etiquette; vakena--by language; atitaram--highly; udita--praised; guna-gana--qualities; avatara--because of the descent; su-jayah--whose glories; priyavratam--unto Priyavrata; adi-purusah--the original person; tam--unto him; sa-daya--with compassion; hasa--smiling; avalokah--whose looking; iti--thus; ha--certainly; uvaca--said.
My dear King Pariksit, because Lord Brahma had finally descended from Satyaloka to Bhuloka, Narada Muni, Prince Priyavrata and Svayambhuva Manu came forward to offer him objects of worship and to praise him in highly qualified language, according to Vedic etiquette. At that time, Lord Brahma, the original person of this universe, felt compassion for Priyavrata and, looking upon him with a smiling face, spoke to him as follows.
That Lord Brahma descended from Satyaloka to see Priyavrata indicates that the matter was very serious. Narada Muni had come to advise Priyavrata about the value of spiritual life, knowledge, renunciation and bhakti, and Lord Brahma knew that Narada's instructions were very impressive. Therefore unless Lord Brahma personally went to Gandhamadana Hill to request Priyavrata, Lord Brahma knew that prince Priyavrata would not accept his father's order. Brahma's purpose was to break Priyavrata's determination. Therefore Brahma first looked upon Priyavrata with compassion. His smile and compassionate features also indicated that although Brahma would request Priyavrata to accept household life, Priyavrata would not be out of touch with devotional service. By the blessings of a Vaisnava, everything is possible. This is described in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu as krpa-siddhi, or perfection attained simply by the blessings of a superior person. One usually becomes liberated and perfect by executing the regulative principles set down in the sastras. Nonetheless, many persons have achieved perfection simply by the blessings of a spiritual master or superior.
Priyavrata was the grandson of Lord Brahma, and as joking competition sometimes takes place between grandson and grandfather, in this case also Priyavrata was determined to remain in meditation, whereas Brahma was determined that he rule the universe. Thus Lord Brahma's affectionate smile and glance meant, "My dear Priyavrata, you have decided not to accept household life, but I have decided to convince you that you must accept it." Actually, Brahma had come to praise Priyavrata for his high standard of renunciation, austerity, penance and devotion so that he would not be deviated from devotional service, even though he would accept household life.
In this verse, one important word is sukta-vakena (by Vedic hymns). In the Vedas, there is the following prayer to Lord Brahma: hiranyagarbhah samavartatagre bhutasya jatah patir eka asit. Brahma was received with the appropriate Vedic hymns, and because he was welcomed according to the Vedic etiquette, he was very pleased.
nibodha tatedam rtam bravimi
masuyitum devam arhasy aprameyam
vayam bhavas te tata esa maharsir
vahama sarve vivasa yasya distam
sri-bhagavan uvaca--the supreme person, Lord Brahma, said; nibodha--kindly hear with attention; tata--my dear son; idam--this; rtam--true; bravimi--I am speaking; ma--not; asuyitum--to be jealous of; devam--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; arhasi--you ought; aprameyam--who is beyond our experimental knowledge; vayam--we; bhavah--Lord Siva; te--your; tatah--father; esah--this; maha-rsih--Narada; vahamah--carry out; sarve--all; vivasah--unable to deviate; yasya--of whom; distam--the order.
Lord Brahma, the supreme person within this universe, said: My dear Priyavrata, kindly hear attentively what I shall say to you. Do not be jealous of the Supreme Lord, who is beyond our experimental measurements. All of us, including Lord Siva, your father and the great sage Maharsi Narada, must carry out the order of the Supreme. We cannot deviate from His order.
Of the twelve great authorities in devotional service, four--Lord Brahma himself, his son Narada, Svayambhuva Manu and Lord Siva--were present before Priyavrata. They were accompanied by many other authoritative sages. Brahma first wanted to impress upon Priyavrata that although these great personalities are all authorities, they cannot possibly disobey the orders of the Supreme personality of Godhead, who is described in this verse as deva, which means "always glorious." The power, glory and potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can never be diminished. In the Isopanisad, the Lord is described as apapa-viddha, which indicates that He is never affected by anything materially considered sinful. Similarly, Srimad-Bhagavatam describes the Supreme Personality of Godhead as being so powerful that nothing we might consider abominable can affect Him. An example sometimes given to explain the position of the Supreme Lord is that of the sun, which evaporates urine from the earth but is never affected by contamination. The Supreme Lord can never be accused of doing anything wrong.
When Lord Brahma went to induce Priyavrata to accept the responsibility for ruling the universe, he did not go whimsically; he was following the dictations of the Supreme Lord. Indeed, Brahma and other genuine authorities never do anything without His permission. The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart. In the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye: the Lord dictated Vedic knowledge to Brahma through his heart. The more a living entity is purified by devotional service, the more he comes in direct contact with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in Srimad Bhagavad-gita:
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te
"To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me." (Bg. 10.10) Lord Brahma, therefore, had not come to Priyavrata by his own whims: rather, it is understood that he had been ordered to persuade Priyavrata by the Supreme personality of Godhead, whose activities cannot be understood by material senses and who is therefore described herein as aprameya. Thus Lord Brahma first advised Priyavrata to hear his words with attention and without envy.
Why one is induced to perform certain acts despite his desire to do something else is indicated herein. One cannot disobey the orders of the Supreme Lord, even if one is as powerful as Lord Siva. Lord Brahma. Manu or the great sage Narada. All these authorities are certainly very powerful, but they do not have the power to disobey the orders of the Supreme personality of Godhead. Since Lord Brahma had come to Priyavrata in accordance with the orders of the Supreme Lord, he first wanted to dispel any suspicions that he might be acting as Priyavrata's enemy. Lord Brahma was following the orders of the Supreme Lord, and therefore it would be worthwhile for Priyavrata to accept Lord Brahma's order, as the Lord desired.
na tasya kascit tapasa vidyaya va
na yoga-viryena manisaya va
naivartha-dharmaih paratah svato va
krtam vihantum tanu-bhrd vibhuyat
na--never; tasya--His; kascit--anyone; tapasa--by austerity; vidyaya--by education; va--or; na--never; yoga--by power of mystic yoga; viryena--by personal strength; manisaya--by intelligence; va--or; na--never; eva--certainly; artha--by material opulence; dharmaih--by the power of religion; paratah--by any external power; svatah--by personal endeavor; va--or; krtam--the order; vihantum--to avoid; tanu-bhrt--a living entity who has accepted a material body; vibhuyat--is able.
One cannot avoid the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not by the strength of severe austerities, an exalted Vedic education, or the power of mystic yoga, physical prowess or intellectual activities. Nor can one use his power of religion, his material opulence or any other means, either by himself or with the help of others, to defy the orders of the Supreme Lord. That is not possible for any living being, from Brahma down to the ant.
In the Garga Upanisad, Gargamuni says to his wife, etasya va aksarasya prasasane gargi surya-candramasau vidhrtau tisthatah: "My dear Gargi, everything is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even the sun, the moon and other controllers and demigods like Lord Brahma and King Indra are all under His control." An ordinary human being or animal who has accepted a material body cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme personality of Godhead's control. A material body includes senses. However, the sense activities of so-called scientists who try to be free from God's law or the laws of nature are useless. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (7.14). Mama maya duratyaya: it is impossible to surpass the control of material nature, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is working behind it. Sometimes we are proud of our austerities, penances and mystic yogic powers, but it is clearly stated herein that one cannot surpass the laws and directions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, either by dint of mystic power, a scientific education, or austerities and penances. It is impossible.
The word manisaya ("by intelligence") is of special significance. Priyavrata might argue that Lord Brahma was requesting him to accept family life and the responsibility for ruling a kingdom, although Narada Muni had advised him not to enter household life and be entangled in material affairs. Whom to accept would be a puzzle for Priyavrata because both Lord Brahma and Narada Muni are authorities. Under the circumstances, the use of the word manisaya is very appropriate, for it indicates that since both Narada Muni and Lord Brahma are authorized to give instruction, Priyavrata should neglect neither of them but should use his intelligence to follow the advice of both. To solve such dilemmas, Srila Rupa Gosvami has given a very clear conception of intelligence. He says:
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
Visayan, material affairs, should be accepted without attachment. and everything should be dovetailed with the service of the Lord. That is real intelligence (manisa). Becoming a family man or king in the material world is not harmful if one accepts everything for Krsna's service. That necessitates clear intelligence. Mayavadi philosophers say, brahma satyam jagan mithya: this material world is false, and only the Absolute Truth is real. However, an intelligent devotee in the line of Lord Brahma and the great sage Narada--or, in other words, in the Brahma-sampradaya--does not consider this world false. That which is created by the Supreme personality of Godhead cannot be false, but using it for enjoyment is. Everything is meant to be enjoyed by the Supreme personality of Godhead, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (5.29). Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram: the Supreme personality of Godhead is the supreme proprietor and enjoyer, and therefore everything should be dovetailed for His enjoyment and service. Regardless of one's circumstances, favorable or unfavorable, one should use everything to serve the Supreme Lord. That is the perfect way to use one's intelligence.
bhavaya nasaya ca karma kartum
sokaya mohaya sada bhayaya
sukhaya duhkhaya ca deha-yogam
avyakta-distam janatanga dhatte
bhavaya--for birth; nasaya--for death; ca--also; karma--activity; kartum--to do; sokaya--for bereavement; mohaya--for illusion; sada--always; bhayaya--for fear; sukhaya--for happiness; duhkhaya--for distress; ca--also; deha-yogam--connection with a material body; avyakta--by the Supreme personality of Godhead; distam--directed; janata--the living entities; anga--O Priyavrata; dhatte--accept.
My dear Priyavrata, by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all living entities accept different types of bodies for birth and death, activity, lamentation, illusion, fear of future dangers, and happiness and distress.
Every living entity who has come to this material world has come here for material enjoyment, but according to his own karma, activities, he must accept a certain type of body given to him by material nature under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.27), prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah: everything is being done by prakrti, material nature, under the direction of the Supreme Lord. Modern scientists do not know why there are varieties of bodies in 8,400,000 forms. The fact is that all these bodies are ordained for the living entities by the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to the living entities' desires. He gives the living entities freedom to act as they like, but on the other hand they must accept a body according to the reactions of their activities. Thus there are different types of bodies. Some living entities have short durations of life, whereas others live for fantastic durations. Every one of them, however, from Brahma down to the ant, acts according to the direction of the Supreme personality of Godhead, who is sitting in everyone's heart. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (15.15):
sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca
"I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance. knowledge and forgetfulness." It is not a fact, however, that the Supreme personality of Godhead gives direction to certain living entities in one way and other living entities in another way. The truth is that every living entity has a certain desire, and the Supreme Lord gives him a chance to fulfill it. The best course, therefore, is to surrender unto the Supreme personality of Godhead and act according to His desire. One who does so is liberated.
yad-vaci tantyam guna-karma-damabhih
sudustarair vatsa vayam suyojitah
sarve vahamo balim isvaraya
prota nasiva dvi-pade catus-padah
yat--of whom; vaci--in the form of Vedic instruction; tantyam--to a long rope; guna--of quality; karma--and work; damabhih--by the ropes; su-dustaraih--very difficult to avoid; vatsa--my dear boy; vayam--we; su-yojitah--are engaged; sarve--all; vahamah--carry out; balim--orders to please Him; isvaraya--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; protah--being bound; nasi--in the nose; iva--like; dvi-pade--to the two-legged (driver); catuh-padah--the four-legged (bulls).
My dear boy, all of us are bound by the Vedic injunctions to the divisions of varnasrama according to our qualities and work. These divisions are difficult to avoid because they are scientifically arranged. We must therefore carry out our duties of varnasrama-dharma, like bulls obliged to move according to the direction of a driver pulling on ropes knotted to their noses.
In this verse, the words tantyam guna-karma-damabhih are very important. We each get a body according to our association with the gunas, the qualities or modes of material nature, and we act accordingly. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, the four orders of the social system--namely brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra--are arranged according to guna and karma, their qualities and work. There is some controversy about this, however, because some say that since one receives a body according to the guna and karma of his past life, it is one's birth that determines his social status. Others say, however, that one's birth according to the guna and karma of his past life is not the essential consideration, since one can change his guna and karma even in this life. Thus they say that the four divisions of the social order--brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra--should be arranged according to the guna and karma of this life. This version is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam by Narada Muni. While instructing Maharaja Yudhisthira about the symptoms of guna and karma, Narada Muni said that these symptoms must govern the division of society. In other words, if a person born in the family of a brahmana has the symptoms of a sudra, he should be designated as a sudra. Similarly, if a sudra has brahminical qualities, he should be designated a brahmana.
The varnasrama system is scientific. Therefore if we accept the divisions of varna and asrama according to the Vedic instructions, our lives will be successful. Unless human society is thus divided and arranged, it cannot be perfect. As stated in the Visnu Purana (3.8.9):
purusena parah puman
visnur aradhyate pantha
"The Supreme personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varna and asrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varnas and asramas." All of human society is meant to worship Lord Visnu. At the present moment, however, human society does not know that this is the ultimate goal or perfection of life. Therefore instead of worshiping Lord Visnu. people have been educated to worship matter. According to the direction of modern society, men think they can advance in civilization by manipulating matter to build skyscrapers, big roads, automobiles and so on. Such a civilization must certainly be called materialistic because its people do not know the goal of life. The goal of life is to reach Visnu. but instead of reaching Visnu, people are bewildered by the external manifestation of the material energy. Therefore progress in material advancement is blind, and the leaders of such material advancement are also blind. They are leading their followers in the wrong way.
It is best, therefore, to accept the injunctions of the Vedas, which are mentioned in this verse as yad-vaci. In accordance with those injunctions, everyone should find out whether he is a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra and should thus be educated accordingly. Then his life will be successful. Otherwise, all of human society will be confused. If human society is divided scientifically according to varna and asrama, and if the Vedic directions are followed, one's life, regardless of his position, will be successful. It is not that brahmanas will be elevated to the transcendental platform but not the sudras. If the Vedic injunctions are followed, all of them--brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras--will be elevated to the transcendental platform, and their lives will be successful. The injunctions in the Vedas are explicit directions from the Supreme personality of Godhead. The example cited in this verse is that bulls tied by ropes in their nostrils move according to the direction of the driver. Similarly, if we move according to the instructions of the Vedas, the perfect paths for our lives will be set. Otherwise, if we do not move in that way but act according to our whimsical ideas, our lives will be spoiled by confusion and will end in despair. Actually, because people at the present moment are not following the instructions of the Vedas, they are all confused. We must therefore accept this instruction by Lord Brahma to Priyavrata as the factual scientific direction leading to the success of life. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (16.23):
yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya
na sa siddhim avapnoti
na sukham na param gatim
If we do not live according to the injunctions of the sastras, the Vedas, we shall never achieve success in life, to say nothing of happiness or elevation to higher statuses of living.
isabhisrstam hy avarundhmahe 'nga
duhkham sukham va guna-karma-sangat
asthaya tat tad yad ayunkta nathas
caksusmatandha iva niyamanah
isa-abhisrstam--created or given by the Lord; hi--certainly; avarundhmahe--we have to accept; anga--my dear Priyavrata; duhkham--distress; sukham--happiness; va--or; guna-karma--with quality and work; sangat--by association; asthaya--being situated in; tat tat--that condition; yat--which body; ayunkta--He gave; nathah--the Supreme Lord; caksusmata--by a person having eyes; andhah--blind men; iva--like; niyamanah--being conducted.
My dear Priyavrata, according to our association with different modes of material nature, the Supreme Personality of Godhead gives us our specific bodies and the happiness and distress we achieve. One must therefore remain situated as he is and be conducted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, exactly as a blind man is led by a person who has eyes with which to see.
By material means, one cannot avoid the happiness and distress unique to his particular body. There are 8,400,000 bodily forms, each destined to enjoy and suffer a certain amount of happiness and distress. This we cannot change, for the happiness and distress are ordained by the Supreme personality of Godhead, in accordance with whose decision we have received our bodies. Since we cannot avoid the plan of the Supreme Godhead, we must agree to be directed by Him, just as a blind man is led by a person who has eyes. Under any circumstances, if we remain in the condition allotted to us by the Supreme Lord and follow His instructions, we will become perfect. The main purpose of life is to follow the instructions of the Supreme personality of Godhead. It is such instructions that constitute one's religion or occupational duty.
In Bhagavad-gita, therefore, Lord Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Give up all other engagements. Simply surrender unto Me and follow Me." (Bg. 18.66) This process of surrendering by following the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not meant for any particular caste or creed. A brahmana can surrender, and so can a ksatriya, vaisya or sudra. Everyone can adopt this process. As stated in this verse, caksusmatandha iva niyamanah: one should follow the Lord the way a blind man follows a person who has eyes. If we follow the Supreme Personality of Godhead by following the directions He gives in the Vedas and Bhagavad-gita, our lives will be successful. The Lord therefore says:
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo 'si me
"Always think of Me, become My devotee, and offer respect and obeisances unto Me. Then you will certainly come back home, back to Godhead. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend." (Bg. 18.65) This instruction is meant for everyone--brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra. If anyone, from any division of life, surrenders to the Supreme personality of Godhead and follows His instructions, his life will be successful.
The previous verse has given the analogy of bulls moving under the direction of the driver of a bullock cart. The bulls, being completely surrendered to the driver, remain wherever he wants to place them and eat whatever he wants them to eat. Similarly, being completely surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we should not aspire for happiness, or regret distress; we must be satisfied with the position allotted to us by the Lord. We should follow the path of devotional service and not be dissatisfied with the happiness and distress He has given. People in the material modes of passion and ignorance generally cannot understand the plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with its 8,400,000 forms of life, but the human form affords one the special privilege to understand this plan, engage in devotional service and elevate oneself to the highest position of perfection by following the Lord's instructions. The entire world is working under the influence of the modes of material nature, especially ignorance and passion, but if people engage in hearing and chanting about the glories of the Supreme Lord, their lives can be successful, and they can be elevated to the highest perfection. In the Brhan-naradiya Purana, therefore, it is said:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
"In this age of Kali, there is no other way, no other way, no other way for spiritual perfection than the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord." Everyone should be given the chance to hear the holy names of the Supreme personality of Godhead, for thus one will gradually come to understand his real position in life and be elevated to the transcendental position above the mode of goodness. Thus all impediments to his progress will be cut to pieces. In conclusion, therefore, we must be satisfied in whatever position we have been put into by the Supreme personality of Godhead, and we should try to engage ourselves in His devotional service. Then our lives will be successful.
mukto 'pi tavad bibhryat sva-deham
arabdham asnann abhimana-sunyah
kim tv anya-dehaya gunan na vrnkte
muktah--a liberated person; api--even; tavat--so long; bibhryat--must maintain; sva-deham--his own body; arabdham--obtained as a result of past activity; asnan--accepting; abhimana-sunyah--without erroneous conceptions; yatha--as; anubhutam--what was perceived; pratiyata-nidrah--one who has awakened from sleep; kim tu--but; anya-dehaya--for another material body; gunan--the material qualities; na--never; vrnkte--enjoys.
Even if one is liberated, he nevertheless accepts the body he has received according to his past karma. Without misconceptions, however, he regards his enjoyment and suffering due to that karma the way an awakened person regards a dream he had while sleeping. He thus remains steadfast and never works to achieve another material body under the influence of the three modes of material nature.
The difference between a liberated and conditioned soul is that the conditioned soul is under the concept of bodily life, whereas a liberated person knows that he is not the body but a spirit, different from the body. Priyavrata might have thought that although a conditioned soul is forced to act according to the laws of nature, why should he, who was far advanced in spiritual understanding, accept the same kind of bondage and impediments to spiritual advancement? To answer this doubt, Lord Brahma informed him that even those who are liberated do not resent accepting, in the present body, the results of their past activities. While sleeping, one dreams many unreal things, but when he awakens he disregards them and makes progress in factual life. Similarly, a liberated person--one who has completely understood that he is not the body but a spirit soul--disregards past activities performed in ignorance and performs his present activities in such a way that they produce no reactions. This is described in Bhagavad-gita (3.9). Yajnarthat karmano 'nyatra loko 'yam karma-bandhanah: if one performs activities for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality, the yajna-purusa, his work does not produce reactions, whereas karmis, who act for themselves, are bound by the reactions of their work. A liberated person, therefore, does not think about whatever he has ignorantly done in the past; instead, he acts in such a way that he will not produce another body by fruitive activities. As clearly mentioned in Bhagavad-gita:
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." (Bg. 14.26) Regardless of what we have done in our past lives, if we engage ourselves in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord in this life, we will always be situated in the brahma-bhuta (liberated) state, free from reactions, and will not be obliged to accept another material body. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so 'rjuna (Bg. 4.9). After giving up the body, one who has acted in that way does not accept another material body, but instead goes back home, back to Godhead.
bhayam pramattasya vanesv api syad
yatah sa aste saha-sat-sapatnah
grhasramah kim nu karoty avadyam
bhayam--fear; pramattasya--of one who is bewildered; vanesu--in forests; api--even; syat--there must be; yatah--because; sah--he (one who is not self-controlled); aste--is existing; saha--with; sat-sapatnah--six co-wives; jita-indriyasya--for one who has already conquered the senses; atma-rateh--self-satisfied; budhasya--for such a learned man; grha-asramah--household life; kim--what; nu--indeed; karoti--can do; avadyam--harm.
Even if he goes from forest to forest, one who is not self-controlled must always fear material bondage because he is living with six co-wives--the mind and knowledge-acquiring senses. Even householder life, however, cannot harm a self-satisfied, learned man who has conquered his senses.
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has sung, grhe va vanete thake, 'ha gauranga' bale dake: whether one is situated in the forest or at home, if he is engaged in the devotional service of Lord Caitanya, he is a liberated person. Here this is also repeated. For one who has not controlled his senses, going to the forest to become a so-called yogi is meaningless. Because his uncontrolled mind and senses are going with him, he cannot achieve anything, even by giving up household life and staying in the forest. Formerly many mercantile men from the up-country of India used to go to Bengal, and thus there is a familiar saying, "If you go to Bengal, your fortune will go with you." Our first concern, therefore, should be to control the senses, and since the senses cannot be controlled unless engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, our most important duty is to engage the senses in devotional service. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate: bhakti means engagement of the purified senses in the service of the Lord.
Herein Lord Brahma indicates that instead of going to the forest with uncontrolled senses, it is better and more secure to engage the senses in the service of the Lord. Even household life can do no harm to a self-controlled person acting in this way; it cannot force him into material bondage. Srila Rupa Gosvami has further enunciated this position:
iha yasya harer dasye
karmana manasa gira
nikhilasv apy avasthasu
jivan-muktah sa ucyate
"Regardless of one's circumstances, if one fully engages his activities, mind and words in the devotional service of the Lord, he should be understood to be a liberated person." Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a responsible officer and a householder, yet his service to the cause of expanding the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is unique. Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati Thakura says, durdantendriya-kala-sarpa-patali protkhata-damstrayate. The sense organs are certainly our greatest enemies, and they are therefore compared to venomous serpents. However, if a venomous serpent is bereft of its poison fangs, it is no longer fearful. Similarly, if the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, there is no need to fear their activities. The devotees in the Krsna consciousness movement move within this material world, but because their senses are fully engaged in the service of the Lord, they are always aloof from the material world. They are always living in a transcendental position.
yah sat sapatnan vijigisamano
grhesu nirvisya yateta purvam
atyeti durgasrita urjitarin
ksinesu kamam vicared vipascit
yah--anyone who; sat--six; sapatnan--adversaries; vijigisamanah--desiring to conquer; grhesu--in household life; nirvisya--having entered; yateta--must try; purvam--first; atyeti--conquers; durga-asritah--being in a fortified place; urjita-arin--very strong enemies; ksinesu--decreased; kamam--lusty desires; vicaret--can go; vipascit--the most experienced, learned.
One who is situated in household life and who systematically conquers his mind and five sense organs is like a king in his fortress who conquers his powerful enemies. After one has been trained in household life and his lusty desires have decreased, he can move anywhere without danger.
The Vedic system of four varnas and four asramas is very scientific, and its entire purpose is to enable one to control the senses. Before entering household life (grhastha-asrama), a student is fully trained to become jitendriya, a conqueror of the senses. Such a mature student is allowed to become a householder, and because he was first trained in conquering his senses, he retires from household life and becomes vanaprastha as soon as the strong waves of youthful life are past and he reaches the verge of old age at fifty years or slightly more. Then, after being further trained, he accepts sannyasa. He is then a fully learned and renounced person who can move anywhere and everywhere without fear of being captivated by material desires. The senses are considered very powerful enemies. As a king in a strong fortress can conquer powerful enemies, so a householder in grhastha-asrama, household life, can conquer the lusty desires of youth and be very secure when he takes vanaprastha and sannyasa.
tvam tv abja-nabhanghri-saroja-kosa-
bhunksveha bhogan purusatidistan
vimukta-sangah prakrtim bhajasva
tvam--yourself; tu--then; abja-nabha--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose navel is like a lotus flower; anghri--feet; saroja--lotus; kosa--hole; durga--the stronghold; asritah--taken shelter of; nirjita--conquered; sat-sapatnah--the six enemies (the mind and five senses); bhunksva--enjoy; iha--in this material world; bhogan--enjoyable things; purusa--by the Supreme person; atidistan--extraordinarily ordered; vimukta--liberated; sangah--from material association; prakrtim--constitutional position; bhajasva--enjoy.
Lord Brahma continued: My dear Priyavrata, seek shelter inside the opening in the lotus of the feet of the Lord, whose navel is also like a lotus. Thus conquer the six sense organs [the mind and knowledge-acquiring senses]. Accept material enjoyment because the Lord, extraordinarily, has ordered you to do this. You will thus always be liberated from material association and be able to carry out the Lord's orders in your constitutional position.
There are three kinds of men within this material world. Those who are trying to enjoy the senses to the utmost are called karmis, above them are the jnanis, who try to conquer the urges of the senses, and above them are the yogis, who have already conquered the senses. None of them, however, are situated in a transcendental position. Only devotees. who belong to none of the above-mentioned groups, are transcendental. As explained in Bhagavad-gita (14.26):
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." Lord Brahma herein advises Priyavrata to remain transcendental in the fortress not of family life but of the lotus feet of the Lord (abja-nabhanghri-saroja). When a bumblebee enters the opening of a lotus flower and drinks its honey, it is fully protected by the petals of the lotus. The bee is undisturbed by sunshine and other external influences. Similarly, one who always seeks shelter at the lotus feet of the personality of Godhead is protected from all dangers. It is therefore said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.58):
samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam
mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh
bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam
padam padam yad vipadam na tesam
For one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, everything becomes easier. Indeed, even crossing the great ocean of nescience (bhavambudhi) is exactly like crossing the hoofprint created by a calf (vatsa-padam). For such a devotee, there is no question of remaining in a place where every step is dangerous.
Our actual duty is to carry out the supreme order of the Personality of Godhead. If we are fixed in our determination to carry out the supreme order of the Lord, we are always secure, regardless of where we are situated, whether in hell or in heaven. Herein the words prakrtim bhajasva are very significant. Prakrtim refers to one's constitutional position. Every living entity has the constitutional position of being an eternal servant of God. Therefore Lord Brahma advised Priyavrata, "Be situated in your original position as an eternal servant of the Lord. If you carry out His orders, you will never fall, even in the midst of material enjoyment." Material enjoyment achieved by dint of one's fruitive activities differs from material enjoyment given by the Supreme personality of Godhead. A devotee sometimes appears to be in a very opulent position, but he accepts that position to follow the orders of the Supreme personality of Godhead. Therefore a devotee is never affected by material influences. The devotees in the Krsna consciousness movement are preaching all over the world in accordance with the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They have to meet many karmis, but by the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they are unaffected by material influences. He has blessed them, as described in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 7.129):
kabhu na badhibe tomara visaya-taranga
punarapi ei thani pabe mora sange
A sincere devotee who engages in the service of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by preaching His cult all over the world will never be affected by visaya-taranga, material influences. On the contrary, in due course of time he will return to the shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and will thus have perpetual association with Him.
iti samabhihito maha-bhagavato bhagavatas tri-bhuvana-guror anusasanam atmano laghutayavanata-sirodharo badham iti sabahu-manam uvaha.
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; iti--thus; samabhihitah--completely instructed; maha-bhagavatah--the great devotee; bhagavatah--of the most powerful Lord Brahma; tri-bhuvana--of the three worlds; guroh--the spiritual master; anusasanam--the order; atmanah--of himself; laghutaya--because of inferiority; avanata--bowed down; sirodharah--his head; badham--yes, sir; iti--thus; sa-bahu-manam--with great respect; uvaha--carried out.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After thus being fully instructed by Lord Brahma, who is the spiritual master of the three worlds, Priyavrata, his own position being inferior, offered obeisances, accepted the order and carried it out with great respect.
Sri Priyavrata was the grandson of Lord Brahma. Therefore according to social etiquette, his position was inferior. It is the duty of the inferior to carry out the order of the superior with great respect. Priyavrata therefore immediately said, "Yes, sir. I shall carry out your order." Priyavrata is described as a maha-bhagavata, a great devotee. The duty of a great devotee is to carry out the order of the spiritual master, or the spiritual master of the spiritual master in the parampara system. As described in Bhagavad-gita (4.2), evam parampara praptam: one has to receive the instructions of the Supreme Lord through the disciplic chain of spiritual masters. A devotee of the Lord always considers himself a servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord.
bhagavan api manuna yathavad upakalpitapacitih priyavrata-naradayor avisamam abhisamiksamanayor atmasam avasthanam avan-manasam ksayam avyavahrtam pravartayann agamat.
bhagavan--the most powerful Lord Brahma; api--also; manuna--by Manu; yathavat--as deserved; upakalpita-apacitih--being worshiped; priyavrata-naradayoh--in the presence of Priyavrata and Narada; avisamam--without aversion; abhisamiksamanayoh--looking on; atmasam--just suitable for his position; avasthanam--to his abode; avak-manasam--beyond the description of mind and words; ksayam--the planet; avyavahrtam--extraordinarily situated; pravartayan--departing; agamat--returned.
Lord Brahma was then worshiped by Manu, who respectfully satisfied him as well as he could. Priyavrata and Narada also looked upon Brahma with no tinges of resentment. Having engaged Priyavrata in accepting his father's request, Lord Brahma returned to his abode, Satyaloka, which is indescribable by the endeavor of mundane mind or words.
Manu was certainly very satisfied that Lord Brahma had persuaded his son Priyavrata to take the responsibility for ruling the world. Priyavrata and Narada were also very satisfied. Although Brahma had forced Priyavrata to accept the management of worldly affairs, thus breaking his vow to remain brahmacari and completely engage in devotional service, Narada and Priyavrata did not look upon Brahma with resentment. Narada was not at all sorry that he had been frustrated in making Priyavrata a disciple. Both Priyavrata and Narada were exalted personalities who knew how to respect Lord Brahma. Therefore instead of looking upon Brahma with resentment, they very feelingly offered him their respect. Lord Brahma then returned to his celestial abode, known as Satyaloka, which is described here as being impeccable and being unapproachable by words.
It is stated in this verse that Lord Brahma returned to his residence, which is as important as his own personality. Lord Brahma is the creator of this universe and the most exalted personality within it. His lifetime is described in Bhagavad-gita (8.17). Sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmano viduh. The total duration of the four yugas is 4,300,000 years, and when that is multiplied a thousand times, it equals twelve hours in the life of Brahma. Therefore we cannot factually comprehend even twelve hours of Brahma's life, to say nothing of the one hundred years that constitute his entire lifetime. How, then, can we understand his abode? The Vedic literatures describe that in Satyaloka there is no birth, death, old age or disease. In other words, since Satyaloka is situated next to Brahmaloka, or the Brahman effulgence, it is almost as good as Vaikunthaloka. Lord Brahma's abode is practically indescribable from our present status. Therefore it has been described as avan-manasa-gocara, or beyond the description of our words and the imagination of our minds. The Vedic literatures thus describe the abode of Lord Brahma: yad vai parardhyam tad uparamesthyam na yatra soko na jara na mrtyur nartir na codvegah. "In Satyaloka, which is situated many millions and billions of years away, there is no lamentation, nor is there old age, death, anxiety or the influence of enemies."
manur api parenaivam pratisandhita-manorathah surarsi-varanumatenatmajam akhila-dhara-mandala-sthiti-guptaya asthapya svayam ati-visama-visaya-visa-jalasayasaya upararama.
manuh--Svayambhuva Manu; api--also; parena--by Lord Brahma; evam--thus; pratisandhita--executed; manah-rathah--his mental aspiration; sura-rsi-vara--of the great sage Narada; anumatena--by the permission; atma-jam--his son; akhila--of the entire universe; dhara-mandala--of planets; sthiti--maintenance; guptaye--for the protection; asthapya--establishing; svayam--personally; ati-visama--very dangerous; visaya--material affairs; visa--of poison; jala-asaya--ocean; asayah--from desires; upararama--got relief.
Svayambhuva Manu, with the assistance of Lord Brahma, thus fulfilled his desires. With the permission of the great sage Narada, he delivered to his son the governmental responsibility for maintaining and protecting all the planets of the universe. He thus achieved relief from the most dangerous, poisonous ocean of material desires.
Svayambhuva Manu was practically hopeless because such a great personality as Narada was instructing his son Priyavrata not to accept household life. Now he was very pleased that Lord Brahma had interfered by inducing his son to accept the responsibility for ruling the government of the universe. From Bhagavad-gita we get information that Vaivasvata Manu was the son of the sun-god and that his son, Maharaja Iksvaku, ruled this planet earth. Svayambhuva Manu, however, appears to have been in charge of the entire universe, and he entrusted to his son, Maharaja Priyavrata, the responsibility for maintaining and protecting all the planetary systems. Dhara-mandala means "planet." This earth, for instance, is called dhara-mandala. Akhila, however, means "all" or "universal." It is therefore difficult to understand where Maharaja Priyavrata was situated, but from this literature his position certainly appears greater than that of Vaivasvata Manu, for he was entrusted with all the planetary systems of the entire universe.
Another significant statement is that Svayambhuva Manu took great satisfaction from abnegating the responsibility for ruling all the planetary systems of the universe. At present, politicians are very eager to take charge of the government, and they engage their men in canvassing from door to door to get votes to win the post of president or a similar exalted office. On the contrary, however, herein we find that King Priyavrata had to be persuaded by Lord Brahma to accept the post of emperor of the entire universe. Similarly, his father, Svayambhuva Manu, felt relieved to entrust the universal government to Priyavrata. Thus it is evident that the kings and executive heads of government in the Vedic age never accepted their positions for sense enjoyment. Such exalted kings, who were known as rajarsis, ruled only to maintain and protect the kingdom for the welfare of the citizens. The history of Priyavrata and Svayambhuva Manu describes how exemplary, responsible monarchs performed the duties of government with disinterest, keeping themselves always aloof from the contamination of material attachment.
Material affairs have herein been compared to an ocean of poison. They have been described in a similar way by Srila Narottama dasa Thakura in one of his songs:
samsara-visanale, diva-nisi hiya jvale,
judaite na kainu upaya
"My heart is always burning in the fire of material existence. and I have made no provisions for getting out of it."
golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana,
rati na janmila kene taya
"The only remedy is hari-nama-sankirtana, the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, which is imported from the spiritual world, Goloka Vrndavana. How unfortunate I am that I have no attraction for this." Manu wanted to seek shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord, and therefore when his son Priyavrata took charge of his worldly affairs, Manu was very relieved. That is the system of Vedic civilization. At the end of life, one must free himself from worldly affairs and completely engage in the service of the Lord.
The word surarsi-vara-anumatena is also significant. Manu entrusted the government to his son with the permission of the great saint Narada. This is particularly mentioned because although Narada wanted Priyavrata to become free from all material affairs, when Priyavrata took charge of the universe by the request of Lord Brahma and Manu, Narada was also very pleased.
iti ha vava sa jagati-patir isvarecchayadhinivesita-karmadhikaro 'khila-jagad-bandha-dhvamsana-paranubhavasya bhagavata adi-purusasyanghri-yugalanavarata-dhyananubhavena parirandhita-kasayasayo 'vadato 'pi mana-vardhano mahatam mahitalam anusasasa.
iti--thus; ha vava--indeed; sah--he; jagati-patih--the emperor of the whole universe; isvara-icchaya--by the order of the Supreme personality of Godhead; adhinivesita--completely engaged; karma-adhikarah--in material affairs; akhila-jagat--of the entire universe; bandha--bondage; dhvamsana--destroying; para--transcendental; anubhavasya--whose influence; bhagavatah--of the Supreme personality of Godhead; adi-purusasya--the original person; anghri--on the lotus feet; yugala--two; anavarata--constant; dhyana-anubhavena--by meditation; parirandhita--destroyed; kasaya--all the dirty things; asayah--in his heart; avadatah--completely pure; api--although; mana-vardhanah--just to give honor; mahatam--to superiors; mahitalam--the material world; anusasasa--ruled.
Following the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Maharaja Priyavrata fully engaged in worldly affairs, yet he always thought of the lotus feet of the Lord, which are the cause of liberation from all material attachment. Although Priyavrata Maharaja was completely freed from all material contamination, he ruled the material world just to honor the orders of his superiors.
The words mana-vardhano mahatam ("just to show honor to superiors") are very significant. Although Maharaja Priyavrata was already a liberated person and had no attraction for material things, he engaged himself fully in governmental affairs just to show respect to Lord Brahma. Arjuna had also acted in the same way. Arjuna had no desire to participate in political affairs or the fighting at Kuruksetra, but when ordered to do so by the Supreme Lord, Krsna, he executed those duties very nicely. One who always thinks of the lotus feet of the Lord is certainly above all the contamination of the material world. As stated in Bhagavad-gita:
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
"Of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all." (Bg. 6.47) Maharaja Priyavrata. therefore, was a liberated person and was among the highest of yogis, yet superficially he became the emperor of the universe in accordance with the order of Lord Brahma. Showing respect to his superior in this way was another of his extraordinary qualifications. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.17.28):
na kutascana bibhyati
A devotee who is actually advanced is not afraid of anything, provided be has the opportunity to execute the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the proper explanation of why Priyavrata engaged in worldly affairs although he was a liberated person. Also, only because of this principle does a maha-bhagavata, who has nothing to do with the material world, come down to the second platform of devotional service to preach the glories of the Lord all over the world.
atha ca duhitaram prajapater visvakarmana upayeme barhismatim nama tasyam u ha vava atmajan atma-samana-sila-guna-karma-rupa-viryodaran dasa bhavayam babhuva kanyam ca yaviyasim urjasvatim nama.
atha--thereafter; ca--also; duhitaram--the daughter; prajapateh--of one of the prajapatis entrusted with increasing population; visvakarmanah--named Visvakarma; upayeme--married; barhismatim--Barhismati; nama--named; tasyam--in her; u ha--as it is celebrated; vava--wonderful; atma-jan--sons; atma-samana--exactly equal to him; sila--character; guna--quality; karma--activities; rupa--beauty; virya--prowess; udaran--whose magnanimity; dasa--ten; bhavayam babhuva--he begot; kanyam--daughter; ca--also; yaviyasim--the youngest of all; urjasvatim--Urjasvati; nama--named.
Thereafter, Maharaja Priyavrata married Barhismati, the daughter of the prajapati named Visvakarma. In her he begot ten sons equal to him in beauty, character, magnanimity and other qualities. He also begot a daughter, the youngest of all, named Urjasvati.
Maharaja Priyavrata not only carried out the order of Lord Brahma by accepting the duties of government, but also married Barhismati, the daughter of Visvakarma, one of the prajapatis. Since Maharaja Priyavrata was fully trained in transcendental knowledge, he could have returned home and conducted the business of government as a brahmacari. Instead, however, when he returned to household life, he accepted a wife also. The principle is that when one becomes a grhastha, he must live perfectly in that order, which means he must live peacefully with a wife and children. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu's first wife died, His mother requested Him to marry for a second time. He was twenty years old and was going to take sannyasa at the age of twenty-four, yet by the request of His mother, He married. "As long as I am in household life," He told His mother, "I must have a wife, for household life does not mean staying in a house. Real household life means living in a house with a wife."
Three words in this verse are very significant--u ha vava. These words are used to express wonder. Priyavrata Maharaja had taken a vow of renunciation, but accepting a wife and begetting children have nothing to do with the path of renunciation; these are activities on the path of enjoyment. It was a source of great wonder, therefore, that Priyavrata Maharaja, who had followed the path of renunciation, had now accepted the path of enjoyment.
Sometimes we are criticized because although I am a sannyasi, I have taken part in the marriage ceremonies of my disciples. It must be explained, however, that since we have started a Krsna conscious society and since a human society must also have ideal marriages, to correctly establish an ideal society we must take part in marrying some of its members, although we have taken to the path of renunciation. This may be astonishing to persons who are not very interested in establishing daiva-varnasrama, the transcendental system of four social orders and four spiritual orders. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, however, wanted to reestablish daiva-varnasrama. In daiva-varnasrama there cannot be acknowledgement of social status according to birthright because in Bhagavad-gita it is said that the determining considerations are guna and karma, one's qualities and work. It is this daiva-varnasrama that should be established all over the world to continue a perfect society for Krsna consciousness. This may be astonishing to foolish critics, but it is one of the functions of a Krsna conscious society.
agnidhredhmajihva-yajnabahu-mahavira-hiranyareto-ghrtaprstha-savana-medhatithi-vitihotra-kavaya iti sarva evagni-namanah.
agnidhra--Agnidhra; idhma-jihva--Idhmajihva; yajna-bahu--Yajnabahu; maha-vira--Mahavira; hiranya-retah--Hiranyareta; ghrtaprstha--Ghrtaprstha; savana--Savana; medha-tithi--Medhatithi; vitihotra--Vitihotra; kavayah--and Kavi; iti--thus; sarve--all these; eva--certainly; agni--of the demigod controlling fire; namanah--names.
The ten sons of Maharaja Priyavrata were named Agnidhra, Idhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Mahavira, Hiranyareta, Ghrtaprstha, Savana, Medhatithi, Vitihotra and Kavi. These are also names of Agni, the fire-god.
etesam kavir mahavirah savana iti traya asann urdhva-retasas ta atma-vidyayam arbha-bhavad arabhya krta-paricayah paramahamsyam evasramam abhajan.
etesam--of these; kavih--Kavi; mahavirah--Mahavira; savanah--Savana; iti--thus; trayah--three; asan--were; urdhva-retasah--completely celibate; te--they; atma-vidyayam--in transcendental knowledge; arbha-bhavat--from childhood; arabhya--beginning; krta-paricayah--very well versed; paramahamsyam--of the highest spiritual perfection of human life; eva--certainly; asramam--the order; abhajan--executed.
Three among these ten--namely Kavi, Mahavira and Savana--lived in complete celibacy. Thus trained in brahmacari life from the beginning of childhood, they were very conversant with the highest perfection, known as the paramahamsa-asrama.
The word urdhva-retasah in this verse is very significant. Urdhva-retah refers to one who can control sex life and who instead of wasting semen by discharging it, can use this most important substance accumulated in the body to enrich the brain. One who can completely control sex life is able to work wonderfully with his brain, especially in remembering. Thus students who simply hear Vedic instructions once from their teacher could remember them verbatim without needing to read books, which therefore did not exist in former times.
Another significant word is arbha-bhavat, which means "from very childhood." Another meaning is "from being very affectionate to children." In other words, paramahamsa life is dedicated for the benefit of others. Just as a father sacrifices many things out of affection for his son, great saintly persons sacrifice all kinds of bodily comforts for the benefit of human society. In this connection there is a verse concerning the six Gosvamis:
tyaktva turnam asesa-mandala-pati-srenim sada tucchavat
bhutva dina-ganesakau karunaya kaupina-kanthasritau
Because of their compassion for the poor fallen souls. the six Gosvamis gave up their exalted positions as ministers and took vows as mendicants. Thus minimizing their bodily wants as far as possible, they each accepted only a loincloth and a begging bowl. Thus they remained in Vrndavana to execute the orders of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by compiling and publishing various Vaisnava literatures.
tasminn u ha va upasama-silah paramarsayah sakala-jiva-nikayavasasya bhagavato vasudevasya bhitanam sarana-bhutasya srimac-caranaravindavirata-smaranavigalita-parama-bhakti-yoganu-bhavena paribhavitantar-hrdayadhigate bhagavati sarvesam bhutanam atma-bhute pratyag-atmany evatmanas tadatmyam avisesena samiyuh.
tasmin--in that paramahamsa-asrama; u--certainly; ha--so celebrated; va--indeed; upasama-silah--in the renounced order of life; parama-rsayah--the great sages; sakala--all; jiva--of living entities; nikaya--in total; avasasya--the residence; bhagavatah--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vasudevasya--Lord Vasudeva; bhitanam--of those afraid of material existence; sarana-bhutasya--the one who is the only shelter; srimat--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; carana-aravinda--the lotus feet; avirata--constantly; smarana--remembering; avigalita--completely uncontaminated; parama--supreme; bhakti-yoga--of mystic devotional service; anubhavena--by the prowess; paribhavita--purified; antah--within; hrdaya--the heart; adhigate--perceived; bhagavati--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarvesam--of all; bhutanam--living entities; atma-bhute--situated within the body; pratyak--directly; atmani--with the Supreme Supersoul; eva--certainly; atmanah--of the self; tadatmyam--qualitative equality; avisesena--without differences; samiyuh--realized.
Thus situated in the renounced order from the beginning of their lives, all three of them completely controlled the activities of their senses and thus became great saints. They concentrated their minds always upon the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the resting place of the totality of living entities and who is therefore celebrated as Vasudeva. Lord Vasudeva is the only shelter of those who are actually afraid of material existence. By constantly thinking of His lotus feet, these three sons of Maharaja Priyavrata became advanced in pure devotional service. By the prowess of their devotional service, they could directly perceive the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in everyone's heart as the Supersoul, and realize that there was qualitatively no difference between themselves and Him.
The paramahamsa stage is the topmost position in renounced life. In sannyasa, the renounced order, there are four stages--kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya and paramahamsa. According to the Vedic system, when one accepts the renounced order, he stays outside his village in a cottage, and his necessities, especially his food, are supplied from home. This is called the kuticaka stage. When a sannyasi advances further, he no longer accepts anything from home: instead, he collects his necessities, especially his food, from many places. This system is called madhukari, which literally means "the profession of the bumblebees." As bumblebees collect honey from many flowers, a little from each, so a sannyasi should beg from door to door but not accept very much food from any particular house; he should collect a little bit from every house. This is called the bahudaka stage. When a sannyasi is still more experienced, he travels all over the world to preach the glories of Lord Vasudeva. He is then known as parivrajakacarya. The sannyasi reaches the paramahamsa stage when he finishes his preaching work and sits down in one place, strictly for the sake of advancing in spiritual life. An actual paramahamsa is one who completely controls his senses and engages in the unalloyed service of the Lord. Therefore all three of these sons of Priyavrata, namely Kavi, Mahavira and Savana, were situated in the paramahamsa stage from the very beginning. Their senses could not disturb them, for their senses were completely engaged in serving the Lord. Therefore the three brothers are described in this verse as upasama-silah. Upasama means "completely subdued." Because they completely subdued their senses, they are understood to have been great sages and saints.
After subduing their senses, the three brothers concentrated their minds upon the lotus feet of Vasudeva, Lord Krsna. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (7.19), vasudevah sarvam iti. The lotus feet of Vasudeva are everything. Lord Vasudeva is the reservoir of all living entities. When this cosmic manifestation is dissolved, all living entities enter the supreme body of the Lord, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, who merges within the body of Maha-Visnu. Both of these visnu-tattvas are vasudeva-tattvas, and therefore the great sages Kavi, Mahavira and Savana concentrated always upon the lotus feet of Lord Vasudeva, Krsna. In this way they could understand that the Supersoul within the heart is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they could recognize their identity with Him. The complete description of this realization is that simply by discharging the unalloyed form of devotional service, one can realize his self completely. The parama-bhakti-yoga mentioned in this verse means that a living entity, by dint of unalloyed devotional service, has no other interest than the service of the Lord, as described in Bhagavad-gita (vasudevah sarvam iti). By parama-bhakti-yoga, by elevating oneself to the highest platform of loving service, one can automatically be relieved from the bodily concept of life and see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. As confirmed in Brahma-samhita:
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
An advanced devotee, who is known as a sat, or saint, can always see within his heart the Supreme Personality of Godhead, face to face. Krsna, Syamasundara, expands Himself by His plenary portion, and thus a devotee can always see Him within his heart.
anyasyam api jayayam trayah putra asann uttamas tamaso raivata iti manvantaradhipatayah.
anyasyam--other; api--also; jayayam--in the wife; trayah--three; putrah--sons; asan--there were; uttamah tamasah raivatah--Uttama, Tamasa and Raivata; iti--thus; manu-antara--of the manvantara millennium; adhipatayah--rulers.
In his other wife, Maharaja Priyavrata begot three sons, named Uttama, Tamasa and Raivata. All of them later took charge of manvantara millenniums.
In every day of Brahma there are fourteen manvantaras. The duration of one manvantara, the lifespan of one Manu, is seventy-one yugas, and each yuga is 4,320,000 years. Almost all the Manus selected to rule the manvantaras came from the family of Maharaja Priyavrata. Three of them are particularly mentioned herein, namely Uttama, Tamasa and Raivata.
evam upasamayanesu sva-tanayesv atha jagati-patir jagatim arbudany ekadasa parivatsaranam avyahatakhila-purusa-kara-sara-sambhrta-dor-danda-yugalapidita-maurvi-guna-stanita-viramita-dharma-pratipakso barhismatyas canudinam edhamana-pramoda-prasarana-yausinya-vrida-pramusita-hasavaloka-rucira-ksvely-adibhih parabhuyamana-viveka ivanavabudhyamana iva mahamana bubhuje.
evam--thus; upasama-ayanesu--all well qualified; sva-tanayesu--his own sons; atha--thereafter; jagati-patih--the master of the universe; jagatim--the universe; arbudani--arbudas (one arbuda equals 100,000,000); ekadasa--eleven; parivatsaranam--of years; avyahata--without being interrupted; akhila--universal; purusa-kara--prowess; sara--strength; sambhrta--endowed with; doh-dandah--of powerful arms; yugala--by the pair; apidita--being drawn; maurvi-guna--of the bowstring; stanita--by the loud sound; viramita--defeated; dharma--religious principles; pratipaksah--those who are against; barhismatyah--of his wife Barhismati; ca--and; anudinam--daily; edhamana--increasing; pramoda--pleasing intercourse; prasarana--amiability; yausinya--feminine behavior; vrida--by shyness; pramusita--held back; hasa--laughing; avaloka--glancing; rucira--pleasing; ksveli-adibhih--by exchanges of loving propensities; parabhuyamana--being defeated; vivekah--his true knowledge; iva--like; anavabudhyamanah--a less intelligent person; iva--like; maha-manah--the great soul; bubhuje--ruled.
After Kavi, Mahavira and Savana were completely trained in the paramahamsa stage of life, Maharaja Priyavrata ruled the universe for eleven arbudas of years. Whenever he was determined to fix his arrow upon his bowstring with his two powerful arms, all opponents of the regulative principles of religious life would flee from his presence in fear of the unparalleled prowess he displayed in ruling the universe. He greatly loved his wife Barhismati, and with the increase of days, their exchange of nuptial love also increased. By her feminine behavior as she dressed herself, walked, got up, smiled, laughed, and glanced about, Queen Barhismati increased his energy. Thus although he was a great soul, he appeared lost in the feminine conduct of his wife. He behaved with her just like an ordinary man, but actually he was a great soul.
In this verse, the word dharma-pratipaksah ("opponents of religious principles") refers not to a particular faith, but to varnasrama-dharma, the division of society, socially and spiritually, into four varnas (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra) and four asramas (brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa). To maintain proper social order and help the citizens gradually progress toward the goal of life--namely spiritual understanding--the principles of varnasrama-dharma must be accepted. From this verse, Maharaja Priyavrata appears to have been so strict in maintaining this institution of varnasrama-dharma that anyone neglecting it would immediately flee from his presence as soon as the King warned him by fighting or administering light punishment. Indeed, Maharaja Priyavrata would not have to fight, for simply because of his strong determination, they dared not disobey the rules and regulations of varnasrama-dharma. It is said that unless human society is regulated by varnasrama-dharma, it is no better than a bestial society of cats and dogs. Maharaja Priyavrata, therefore, strictly maintained varnasrama-dharma by his extraordinary, unparalleled prowess.
To maintain such a life of strict vigilance, one needs encouragement from his wife. In the varnasrama-dharma system, certain classes, such as the brahmanas and sannyasis, do not need encouragement from the opposite sex. Ksatriyas and grhasthas, however, actually need the encouragement of their wives in order to execute their duties. Indeed, a grhastha or ksatriya cannot properly execute his responsibilities without the association of his wife. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally admitted that a grhastha must live with a wife. Ksatriyas were even allowed to have many wives to encourage them in discharging the duties of government. The association of a good wife is necessary in a life of karma and political affairs. To execute his duties properly, therefore. Maharaja Priyavrata took advantage of his good wife Barhismati, who was always very expert in pleasing her great husband by properly dressing herself, smiling, and exhibiting her feminine bodily features. Queen Barhismati always kept Maharaja Priyavrata very encouraged, and thus he executed his governmental duty very properly. In this verse iva has twice been used to indicate that Maharaja Priyavrata acted exactly like a henpecked husband and thereby seemed to have lost his sense of human responsibility. Actually, however, he was fully conscious of his position as a spirit soul, although he seemingly behaved like an acquiescent karmi husband. Maharaja Priyavrata thus ruled the universe for eleven arbudas of years. One arbuda consists of 100,000,000 years, and Maharaja Priyavrata ruled the universe for eleven such arbudas.
yavad avabhasayati sura-girim anuparikraman bhagavan adityo vasudha-talam ardhenaiva pratapaty ardhenavacchadayati tada hi bhagavad-upasanopacitati-purusa-prabhavas tad anabhinandan samajavena rathena jyotirmayena rajanim api dinam karisyamiti sapta-krt vastaranim anuparyakramad dvitiya iva patangah.
yavat--so long; avabhasayati--illuminates; sura-girim--the Sumeru Hill; anuparikraman--by circumambulating; bhagavan--the most powerful; adityah--sun-god; vasudha-talam--the lower planetary system; ardhena--by half; eva--certainly; pratapati--makes dazzling; ardhena--by half; avacchadayati--covers with darkness; tada--at that time; hi--certainly; bhagavat-upasana--by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead; upacita--by satisfying Him perfectly; ati-purusa--superhuman; prabhavah--influence; tat--that; anabhinandan--without appreciating; samajavena--by equally powerful; rathena--on a chariot; jyotih-mayena--dazzling; rajanim--night; api--also; dinam--day; karisyami--I shall make it; iti--thus; sapta-krt--seven times; vastaranim--exactly following the orbit of the sun; anuparyakramat--circumambulated; dvitiyah--second; iva--like; patangah--sun.
While so excellently ruling the universe, King Priyavrata once became dissatisfied with the circumambulation of the most powerful sun-god. Encircling Sumeru Hill on his chariot, the sun-god illuminates all the surrounding planetary systems. However, when the sun is on the northern side of the hill, the south receives less light, and when the sun is in the south, the north receives less. King Priyavrata disliked this situation and therefore decided to make daylight in the part of the universe where there was night. He followed the orbit of the sun-god on a brilliant chariot and thus fulfilled his desire. He could perform such wonderful activities because of the power he had achieved by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
There is a Bengali saying which describes that someone is so powerful that he can make the night day and the day night. That saying is current because of the prowess of Priyavrata. His activities demonstrate how powerful he became by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Krsna is known as Yogesvara, the master of all mystic powers. In Bhagavad-gita (18.78) it is said wherever there is the master of all mystic powers (yatra yogesvarah krsnah), victory, fortune and all other opulences are present. Devotional service is so powerful. When a devotee achieves what he wants to accomplish, it is not by his own mystic power but by the grace of the master of mystic power. Lord Krsna: by His grace, a devotee can accomplish wonderful things unimaginable even to the most powerful scientist.
From the description in this verse, it appears that the sun moves. According to modern astronomers, the sun is fixed in one place, surrounded by the solar system, but here we find that the sun is not stationary: it is rotating in a prescribed orbit. This fact is corroborated by Brahma-samhita (5.52). Yasyajnaya bhramati sambhrta-kala-cakrah: the sun is rotating in its fixed orbit in accordance with the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. According to Jyotir Veda, the science of astronomy in the Vedic literature, the sun moves for six months on the northern side of the Sumeru Hill and for six months on the southern side. We have practical experience on this planet that when there is summer in the north there is winter in the south and vice versa. Modern materialistic scientists sometimes present themselves as knowing all the ingredients of the sun, yet they are unable to offer a second sun like Maharaja Priyavrata's.
Although Maharaja Priyavrata devised a very powerful chariot as brilliant as the sun, he had no desire to compete with the sun-god, for a Vaisnava never wants to supersede another Vaisnava. His purpose was to give abundant benefits in material existence. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks that in the months of April and May the rays of Maharaja Priyavrata's brilliant sun were as pleasing as the rays of the moon, and in October and November, both morning and evening, that sun provided more warmth than the sunshine. In short, Maharaja Priyavrata was extremely powerful, and his actions extended his power in all directions.
ye va u ha tad-ratha-carana-nemi-krta-parikhatas te sapta sindhava asan yata eva krtah sapta bhuvo dvipah.
ye--that; va u ha--certainly; tat-ratha--of his chariot; carana--of the wheels; nemi--by the rims; krta--made; parikhatah--trenches; te--those; sapta--seven; sindhavah--oceans; asan--became; yatah--because of which; eva--certainly; krtah--were made; sapta--seven; bhuvah--of the Bhu-mandala; dvipah--islands.
When Priyavrata drove his chariot behind the sun, the rims of his chariot wheels created impressions that later became seven oceans, dividing the planetary system known as Bhu-mandala into seven islands.
Sometimes the planets in outer space are called islands. We have experience of various types of islands in the ocean, and similarly the various planets, divided into fourteen lokas, are islands in the ocean of space. As Priyavrata drove his chariot behind the sun, he created seven different types of oceans and planetary systems, which altogether are known as Bhu-mandala, or Bhuloka. In the Gayatri mantra, we chant, om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam. Above the Bhuloka planetary system is Bhuvarloka, and above that is Svargaloka, the heavenly planetary system. All these planetary systems are controlled by Savita, the sun-god. By chanting the Gayatri mantra just after rising early in the morning, one worships the sun-god.
jambu-plaksa-salmali-kusa-kraunca-saka-puskara-samjnas tesam parimanam purvasmat purvasmad uttara uttaro yatha-sankhyam dvi-guna-manena bahih samantata upaklptah.
jambu--Jambu; plaksa--Plaksa; salmali--Salmali; kusa--Kusa; kraunca--Kraunca; saka--Saka; puskara--Puskara; samjnah--known as; tesam--of them; parimanam--measurement; purvasmat purvasmat--from the former; uttarah uttarah--the following; yatha--according to; sankhyam--number; dvi-guna--twice as much; manena--with a measure; bahih--outside; samantatah--all around; upaklptah--produced.
The names of the islands are Jambu, Plaksa, Salmali, Kusa, Kraunca, Saka and Puskara. Each island is twice as large as the one preceding it, and each is surrounded by a liquid substance, beyond which is the next island.
The ocean in each planetary system has a different type of liquid. How they are situated is explained in the next verse.
ksarodeksu-rasoda-suroda-ghrtoda-ksiroda-dadhi-mandoda-suddhodah sapta jaladhayah sapta dvipa-parikha ivabhyantara-dvipa-samana ekaikasyena yathanupurvam saptasv api bahir dvipesu prthak parita upakalpitas tesu jambv-adisu barhismati-patir anuvratanatmajan agnidhredhmajihva-yajnabahu-hiranyareto-ghrtaprstha-medhatithi-vitihotra-samjnan yatha-sankhyenaikaikasminn ekam evadhi-patim vidadhe.
ksara--salt; uda--water; iksu-rasa--the liquid extract from sugarcane; uda--water; sura--liquor; uda--water; ghrta--clarified butter; uda--water; ksira--milk; uda--water; dadhi-manda--emulsified yogurt; uda--water; suddha-udah--and drinking water; sapta--seven; jala-dhayah--oceans; sapta--seven; dvipa--islands; parikhah--trenches; iva--like; abhyantara--internal; dvipa--islands; samanah--equal to; eka-ekasyena--one after another; yatha-anupurvam--in chronological order; saptasu--seven; api--although; bahih--outside; dvipesu--in islands; prthak--separate; paritah--all around; upakalpitah--situated; tesu--within them; jambu-adisu--beginning with Jambu; barhismati--of Barhismati; patih--the husband; anuvratan--who were actually followers of the father's principles; atma-jan--sons; agnidhra-idhmajihva-yajnabahu-hiranyaretah-ghrtaprstha-medhatithi-vitihotra-samjnan--named Agnidhra, Idhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Hiranyareta, Ghrtaprstha, Medhatithi and Vitihotra; yatha-sankhyena--by the same number; eka-ekasmin--in each island; ekam--one; eva--certainly; adhi-patim--king; vidadhe--he made.
The seven oceans respectively contain salt water, sugarcane juice, liquor, clarified butter, milk, emulsified yogurt, and sweet drinking water. All the islands are completely surrounded by these oceans, and each ocean is equal in breadth to the island it surrounds. Maharaja Priyavrata, the husband of Queen Barhismati, gave sovereignty over these islands to his respective sons, namely Agnidhra, Idhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Hiranyareta, Ghrtaprstha, Medhatithi and Vitihotra. Thus they all became kings by the order of their father.
It is to be understood that all the dvipas, or islands, are surrounded by different types of oceans, and it is said herein that the breadth of each ocean is the same as that of the island it surrounds. The length of the oceans, however, cannot equal the length of the islands. According to Viraraghava Acarya, the breadth of the first island is 100,000 yojanas. One yojana equals eight miles, and therefore the breadth of the first island is calculated to be 800,000 miles. The water surrounding it must have the same breadth, but its length must be different.
duhitaram corjasvatim namosanase prayacchad yasyam asid devayani nama kavya-suta.
duhitaram--the daughter; ca--also; urjasvatim--Urjasvati; nama--named; usanase--unto the great sage Usana (Sukracarya); prayacchat--he gave; yasyam--unto whom; asit--there was; devayani--Devayani; nama--named; kavya-suta--the daughter of Sukracarya.
King Priyavrata then gave his daughter, Urjasvati, in marriage to Sukracarya, who begot in her a daughter named Devayani.
naivam-vidhah purusa-kara urukramasya
pumsam tad-anghri-rajasa jita-sad-gunanam
citram vidura-vigatah sakrd adadita
yan-namadheyam adhuna sa jahati bandham
na--not; evam-vidhah--like that; purusa-karah--personal influence; uru-kramasya--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pumsam--of the devotees; tat-anghri--of His lotus feet; rajasa--by the dust; jita-sat-gunanam--who have conquered the influence of the six kinds of material whips; citram--wonderful; vidura-vigatah--the fifth-grade person, or the untouchable; sakrt--only once; adadita--if he utters; yat--whose; namadheyam--holy name; adhuna--immediately; sah--he; jahati--gives up; bandham--material bondage.
My dear King, a devotee who has taken shelter of the dust from the lotus feet of the Lord can transcend the influence of the six material whips--namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death--and he can conquer the mind and five senses. However, this is not very wonderful for a pure devotee of the Lord because even a person beyond the jurisdiction of the four castes--in other words, an untouchable--is immediately relieved of bondage to material existence if he utters the holy name of the Lord even once.
Sukadeva Gosvami was speaking to Maharaja Pariksit about the activities of King Priyavrata, and since the King might have had doubts about these wonderful, uncommon activities, Sukadeva Gosvami reassured him. "My dear King," he said, "don't be doubtful about the wonderful activities of Priyavrata. For a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, everything is possible because the Lord is also known as Urukrama." Urukrama is a name for Lord Vamanadeva, who performed the wonderful act of occupying the three worlds with three footsteps. Lord Vamanadeva requested three paces of land from Maharaja Bali, and when Maharaja Bali agreed to grant them, the Lord immediately covered the entire world with two footsteps, and for His third step He placed His foot upon Bali Maharaja's head. Sri Jayadeva Gosvami says:
chalayasi vikramane balim adbhuta-vamana
kesava dhrta-vamana-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
"All glories to Lord Kesava, who assumed the form of a dwarf. O Lord of the universe, who takes away everything inauspicious for the devotees! O wonderful Vamanadeva! You tricked the great demon Bali Maharaja by Your steps. The water that touched the nails of Your lotus feet when You pierced through the covering of the universe purifies all living entities in the form of the River Ganges."
Since the Supreme Lord is all-powerful, He can do things that seem wonderful for a common man. Similarly, a devotee who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord can also do wonderful things. unimaginable to a common man, by the grace of the dust of those lotus feet. Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore teaches us to take shelter of the Lord's lotus feet:
ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram
patitam mam visame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-
"O son of Nanda Maharaja, I am Your eternal servant, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms of Your lotus feet." Lord Caitanya teaches us to come in touch with the dust of the Lord's lotus feet, for then there will undoubtedly be all success.
Because of the material body, every living entity in material existence is always disturbed by sad-guna, six whips--hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, invalidity and death. Furthermore, another sad-guna are the mind and five sense organs. Not to speak of a sanctified devotee, even a candala, an outcaste, who is untouchable, is immediately freed from material bondage if he utters the holy name of the Lord even once. Sometimes caste brahmanas argue that unless one changes his body he cannot be accepted as a brahmana, for since the present body is obtained as a result of past actions, one who has in the past acted as a brahmana takes birth in a brahmana family. Therefore, they contend, without such a brahminical body, one cannot be accepted as a brahmana. Herein it is said, however, that even vidura-vigata, a candala--a fifth-class untouchable--is freed if he utters the holy name even once. Being freed means that he immediately changes his body. Sanatana Gosvami confirms this:
yatha kancanatam yati
dvijatvam jayate nrnam
When a person, even though a candala, is initiated by a pure devotee into chanting the holy name of the Lord, his body changes as he follows the instructions of the spiritual master. Although one cannot see how his body has changed, we must accept, on the grounds of the authoritative statements of the sastras, that he changes his body. This is to be understood without arguments. This verse clearly says. sa jahati bandham: "He gives up his material bondage." The body is a symbolic representation of material bondage according to one's karma. Although sometimes we cannot see the gross body changing, chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord immediately changes the subtle body, and because the subtle body changes, the living entity is immediately freed from material bondage. After all, changes of the gross body are conducted by the subtle body. After the destruction of the gross body, the subtle body takes the living entity from his present gross body to another. In the subtle body, the mind is predominant, and therefore if one's mind is always absorbed in remembering the activities or the lotus feet of the Lord, he is to be understood to have already changed his present body and become purified. Therefore it is irrefutable that a candala, or any fallen or lowborn person, can become a brahmana simply by the method of bona fide initiation.
sa evam aparimita-bala-parakrama ekada tu devarsi-carananusayananu-patita-guna-visarga-samsargenanirvrtam ivatmanam manyamana atma-nirveda idam aha.
sah--he (Maharaja Priyavrata); evam--thus; aparimita--unparalleled; bala--strength; parakramah--whose influence; ekada--once upon a time; tu--then; deva-rsi--of the great saint Narada; carana-anusayana--surrendering unto the lotus feet; anu--thereafter; patita--fallen down; guna-visarga--with material affairs (created by the three material modes of nature); samsargena--by connection; anirvrtam--not satisfied; iva--like; atmanam--himself; manyamanah--thinking like that; atma--self; nirvedah--possessing renunciation; idam--this; aha--said.
While enjoying his material opulences with full strength and influence, Maharaja Priyavrata once began to consider that although he had fully surrendered to the great saint Narada and was actually on the path of Krsna consciousness, he had somehow become again entangled in material activities. Thus his mind now became restless, and he began to speak in a spirit of renunciation.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.17) it is said:
tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer
bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim
ko vartha apto 'bhajatam sva-dharmatah
"One who has forsaken his material occupations to engage in the devotional service of the Lord may sometimes fall down while in an immature stage, yet there is no danger of his being unsuccessful. On the other hand, a nondevotee, though fully engaged in occupational duties, does not gain anything." If one somehow or other comes to the shelter of a great Vaisnava, takes to Krsna consciousness because of sentiment or realization, but in course of time falls down because of immature understanding, he is not actually fallen, for his having engaged in Krsna consciousness is a permanent asset. If one falls down, therefore, his progress might be checked for a certain time, but it will again become manifest at an opportune moment. Although Priyavrata Maharaja was serving according to the instructions of Narada Muni meant for going back home, back to Godhead, he returned to material affairs at the request of his father. In due course of time, however, his consciousness for serving Krsna reawakened by the grace of his spiritual master, Narada.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (6.41), sucinam srimatam gehe yoga-bhrasto 'bhijayate. One who falls down from the process of bhakti-yoga is again offered the opulence of the demigods, and after enjoying such material opulence, he is given a chance to take birth in a noble family of a pure brahmana, or in a rich family, to be given the chance to revive his Krsna consciousness. This actually happened in the life of Priyavrata: he is a most glorious example of this truth. In due course of time, he no longer wanted to enjoy his material opulences and his wife, kingdom and sons; instead, he wanted to renounce them all. Therefore, after having described the material opulences of Maharaja Priyavrata, Sukadeva Gosvami, in this verse, describes his tendency for renunciation.
The words devarsi-carananusayana indicate that Maharaja Priyavrata, having fully surrendered to the great sage Devarsi Narada, was strictly following all the devotional processes and regulative principles under his direction. In regard to strictly following the regulative principles, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says; dandavat-pranamas tan anupatitah. By immediately offering obeisances (dandavat) unto the spiritual master and by strictly following his directions, the student becomes advanced. Maharaja Priyavrata was doing all these things regularly.
As long as one is in the material world, he has to be under the influence of the modes of material nature (guna-visarga). It is not that Maharaja Priyavrata was freed from material influence because he possessed all material opulences. In this material world, both the very poor man and the very rich man are under material influences, for both wealth and poverty are creations of the modes of material nature. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.27), prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah. According to the modes of material nature we acquire, the material nature gives us facility for material enjoyment.
aho asadhv anusthitam yad abhinivesito 'ham indriyair avidya-racita-visama-visayandha-kupe tad alam alam amusya vanitaya vinoda-mrgam mam dhig dhig iti garhayam cakara.
aho--alas; asadhu--not good; anusthitam--executed; yat--because; abhinivesitah--being completely absorbed; aham--I; indriyaih--for sense gratification; avidya--by nescience; racita--made; visama--causing distress; visaya--sense gratification; andha-kupe--in the dark well; tat--that; alam--insignificant; alam--of no importance; amusyah--of that; vanitayah--wife; vinoda-mrgam--just like a dancing monkey; mam--unto me; dhik--all condemnation; dhik--all condemnation; iti--thus; garhayam--criticism; cakara--he did.
The King thus began criticizing himself: Alas, how condemned I have become because of my sense gratification! I have now fallen into material enjoyment, which is exactly like a covered well. I have had enough! I am not going to enjoy any more. Just see how I have become like a dancing monkey in the hands of my wife. Because of this, I am condemned.
How condemned is the advancement of material knowledge can be understood from the behavior of Maharaja Priyavrata. He performed such wonderful acts as creating another sun, which shined during the night, and creating a chariot so great that its wheels formed vast oceans. These activities are so great that modern scientists cannot even imagine how such things can be done. Maharaja Priyavrata acted very wonderfully in the material field of activities, but because he was dealing in sense gratification--ruling his kingdom and dancing to the indications of his beautiful wife--he personally condemned himself. When we think about this example of Maharaja Priyavrata, we can just consider how degraded is the modern civilization of materialistic advancement. Modern so-called scientists and other materialists are very satisfied because they can construct great bridges, roads and machines, but such activities are nothing comparable to those of Maharaja Priyavrata. If Maharaja Priyavrata could condemn himself in spite of his wonderful activities, how condemned we are in our so-called advancement of material civilization. We can conclude that such advancement has nothing to do with the problems of the living entity entangled within this material world. Unfortunately, modern man does not understand his entanglement and how condemned he is, nor does he know what kind of body he is going to have in the next life. From a spiritual point of view, a great kingdom, beautiful wife and wonderful material activities are all impediments to spiritual advancement. Maharaja Priyavrata had served the great sage Narada sincerely. Therefore even though he had accepted material opulences, he could not be deviated from his own task. He again became Krsna conscious. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita:
pratyavayo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya
trayate mahato bhayat
"In devotional service there is no loss or diminution, and even a small service rendered in devotional life is sufficient to save one from the greatest danger." (Bg. 2.40) Such renunciation as Maharaja Priyavrata's is possible only by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Generally when people are powerful or when they have a beautiful wife, a beautiful home and material popularity, they become more and more entangled. Priyavrata Maharaja, however, having been completely trained by the great sage Narada, revived his Krsna consciousness in spite of all impediments.
para-devata-prasadadhigatatma-pratyavamarsenanupravrttebhyah putrebhya imam yatha-dayam vibhajya bhukta-bhogam ca mahisim mrtakam iva saha maha-vibhutim apahaya svayam nihita-nirvedo hrdi grhita-hari-viharanubhavo bhagavato naradasya padavim punar evanusasara.
para-devata--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prasada--by the mercy; adhigata--obtained; atma-pratyavamarsena--by self-realization; anupravrttebhyah--who exactly follow his path; putrebhyah--unto his sons; imam--this earth; yatha-dayam--exactly according to the inheritance; vibhajya--dividing; bhukta-bhogam--whom he enjoyed in so many ways; ca--also; mahisim--the Queen; mrtakam iva--exactly like a dead body; saha--with; maha-vibhutim--great opulence; apahaya--giving up; svayam--himself; nihita--perfectly taken to; nirvedah--renunciation; hrdi--in the heart; grhita--accepted; hari--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vihara--pastimes; anubhavah--in such an attitude; bhagavatah--of the great saintly person; naradasya--of Saint Narada; padavim--position; punah--again; eva--certainly; anusasara--began to follow.
By the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Maharaja Priyavrata reawakened to his senses. He divided all his earthly possessions among his obedient sons. He gave up everything, including his wife, with whom he had enjoyed so much sense gratification, and his great and opulent kingdom, and he completely renounced all attachment. His heart, having been cleansed, became a place of pastimes for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus he was able to return to the path of Krsna consciousness, spiritual life, and resume the position he had attained by the grace of the great saint Narada.
As enunciated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Siksastaka, ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam: as soon as one's heart is cleansed, the blazing fire of material existence is immediately extinguished. Our hearts are meant for the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that one should be fully Krsna conscious, thinking of Krsna, as He Himself advises (man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru). This should be our only business. One whose heart is not clean cannot think of the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord, but if one can once again place the Supreme Personality of Godhead in his heart, he very easily becomes qualified to renounce material attachment. Mayavadi philosophers, yogis and jnanis try to give up this material world simply by saying, brahma satyam jagan mithya: "This world is false. There is no use of it. Let us take to Brahman." Such theoretical knowledge will not help us. If we believe that Brahman is the real truth, we have to place within our hearts the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, as Maharaja Ambarisa did (sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh). One has to fix the lotus feet of the Lord within his heart. Then he gets the strength to be freed from material entanglement.
Maharaja Priyavrata was able to give up his opulent kingdom, and he also gave up the association of his beautiful wife as if she were a dead body. However beautiful one's wife and however attractive her bodily features, one is no longer interested in her when her body is dead. We praise a beautiful woman for her body, but that same body, when bereft of a spirit soul, is no longer interesting to any lusty man. Maharaja Priyavrata was so strong, by the grace of the Lord, that even though his beautiful wife was alive, he could give up her association exactly like one who is forced to give up the association of a dead wife. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:
na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagadisa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
"O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth." For one who desires to advance in spiritual life, attachment to material opulence and attachment to a beautiful wile are two great impediments. Such attachments are condemned even more than suicide. Therefore anyone desiring to cross beyond material nescience must, by the grace of Krsna, be freed from attachment to women and money. When Maharaja Priyavrata became completely free from these attachments, he could again peacefully follow the principles instructed by the great sage Narada.
tasya ha va ete slokah----
ko nu kuryad vinesvaram
yo nemi-nimnair akaroc
chayam ghnan sapta varidhin
tasya--his; ha va--certainly; ete--all these; slokah--verses; priyavrata--by King Priyavrata; krtam--done; karma--activities; kah--who; nu--then; kuryat--can execute; vina--without; isvaram--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yah--one who; nemi--of the rim of the wheels of his chariot; nimnaih--by the depressions; akarot--made; chayam--darkness; ghnan--dissipating; sapta--seven; varidhin--oceans.
There are many famous verses regarding Maharaja Priyavrata's activities:
"No one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead could do what Maharaja Priyavrata has done. Maharaja Priyavrata dissipated the darkness of night, and with the rims of his great chariot, he excavated seven oceans."
There are many excellent verses, famous all over the world, concerning the activities of Maharaja Priyavrata. He is so celebrated that his activities are compared to those of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes a sincere servant and devotee of the Lord is also called bhagavan. Sri Narada is called bhagavan, and Lord Siva and Vyasadeva are also sometimes called bhagavan. This designation, bhagavan, is sometimes conferred upon a pure devotee by the grace of the Lord so that he will be very highly esteemed. Maharaja Priyavrata was such a devotee.
bhu-samsthanam krtam yena
sima ca bhuta-nirvrtyai
dvipe dvipe vibhagasah
bhu-samsthanam--the situation of the earth; krtam--done; yena--by whom; sarit--by rivers; giri--by hills and mountains; vana-adibhih--by forests and so on; sima--boundaries; ca--also; bhuta--of different nations; nirvrtyai--to stop fighting; dvipe dvipe--on the various islands; vibhagasah--separately.
"To stop the quarreling among different peoples, Maharaja Priyavrata marked boundaries at rivers and at the edges of mountains and forests so that no one would trespass upon another's property."
The example set by Maharaja Priyavrata in marking off different states is still followed. As indicated here, different classes of men are destined to live in different areas, and therefore the boundaries of various tracts of land, which are described here as islands, should be defined by different rivers, forests and hills. This is also mentioned in relation to Maharaja Prthu, who was born from the dead body of his father by the manipulation of great sages. Maharaja Prthu's father was very sinful, and therefore a black man called Nisada was first born from his dead body. The Naisada race was given a place in the forest because by nature they are thieves and rogues. As animals are given places in various forests and hills, men who are like animals are also destined to live there. One cannot be promoted to civilized life unless one comes to Krsna consciousness, for by nature one is destined to live in a particular situation according to one's karma and association with the modes of nature. If men want to live in harmony and peace, they must take to Krsna consciousness, for they cannot achieve the highest standard while absorbed in the bodily concept of life. Maharaja Priyavrata divided the surface of the globe into different islands so that each class of men would live peacefully and not clash with the others. The modern idea of nationhood has gradually developed from the divisions made by Maharaja Priyavrata.
bhaumam divyam manusam ca
yas cakre nirayaupamyam
bhaumam--of the lower planets; divyam--heavenly; manusam--of human beings; ca--also; mahitvam--all opulences; karma--by fruitive activities; yoga--by mystic power; jam--born; yah--one who; cakre--did; niraya--with hell; aupamyam--comparison or equality; purusa--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; anujana--to the devotee; priyah--most dear.
"As a great follower and devotee of the sage Narada, Maharaja Priyavrata considered hellish the opulences he had achieved by dint of fruitive activities and mystic power, whether in the lower or heavenly planetary systems or in human society."
Srila Rupa Gosvami has said that the position of a devotee is so superexcellent that a devotee does not consider any material opulence worth having. There are different types of opulences on earth, in the heavenly planets and even in the lower planetary system, known as Patala. A devotee, however, knows that they are all material, and consequently he is not at all interested in them. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, param drstva nivartate. Sometimes yogis and jnanis voluntarily give up all material opulences to practice their system of liberation and taste spiritual bliss. However, they frequently fall down because artificial renunciation of material opulences cannot endure. One must have a superior taste in spiritual life; then he can give up material opulence. Maharaja Priyavrata had already tasted spiritual bliss, and therefore he had no interest in any of the material achievements available in the lower, higher or middle planetary systems.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to the Fifth Canto, First Chapter, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "The Activities of Maharaja Priyavrata."